LOKUMU Monthly: Gasandji

Lokumu in Lingala means honour; when conjugated from the verb ‘ko kumisa’ which means to honour, to worship or to praise – synonyms along those lines. The idea of this monthly tribute is to bring forth Congolese individuals who are excelling in their field. I got a little frustrated scouring magazines, blogs, websites, newspapers and not finding any of my peers being celebrated as much as other African counterparts.  Afterall I know how amazing we are as people: cultured, friendly, intelligent, welcoming etc. Yes, Ghana is beautiful, Nigeria is exuberant, Zambia is vibrant, Zimbabwe has vitality, South Africa is eloquent and Senegal full of vivacity but after a while all I want to know is where are my people? And what are they up to?

Corruption, rape and war have made “Congo” (DRC) synonymous with poverty, chaos, instability and while the country’s troubles are still deeply entrenched, it is also making significant progress towards realizing its enormous economic potential. Rather than continuing to moan about it, I decided to act upon my frustration and bring to light some of my ‘peers’ to your attention. From literature , Arts and music,  to sports, fashion and philanthropy;  the ‘Lokumu Monthly’ hall of fame will  provide a platform to honour and praise  people of Congolese descent and heritage. Thank me later!

Lokumu of the month; meet……………….. GASANDJI

With a name that translates as “The one who awakens consciences” or “The one who unveils consciences”, Gasandji is a force to be reckoned with.

She is a musician whose sound is a fusion of up-tempo African drums, melodramatic jazz,  rhythmic reggae accents and soothing soul. She sings about love, friendships, hardships and relationships. I discovered her last year in my searches and fell in love with her ever since. Her music touches the soul and takes you on a journey which transcends culture, race, language or ethnicity;  real authentic universal music. Her soulful voice is reminiscent of the likes of Tracy Chapman, Jill Scott… and the sincerity in the tone of her voice reminds me of Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill with the eloquence and mystery they possess; Rokia Traore also springs to mind…

Gasandji resides in France and was a dancer and choreographer for French artists such as MC Solaar and IAM prior to embarking on her musical journey. She sings in Lingala, French and English.

She has a gig in London on Saturday 03 MArch 2012 which I plan to attend with my sister and some friends. You know I will be boogying to the beat right?…See you there if you care to join 🙂

In the mean time enjoy two of my favourite tracks:

  1. “Libela” (Forever/ For good) – In the lyrics of this track Gasandji speaks of returning back to her homeland (mboka) forever/ for good (or permanently in this context). She questions the suffering of  the country’s children and the level of suffering they have endured for all the years passed. She asks how and what  she can do to help.

2. “Na lingui yo” (I love you) – She speaks of loving her child and the depth of love she feels for her, praising the Lord for her existence. A very heartfelt account of loving someone in the purest sense of the word. She says “po na sunga yo ti no liwa”  meaning  “for me to help/aid you until death” (do us part). In essence this track could be just as easily sang to a significant other. Enough said! Enjoy 🙂

Gig in London on Saturday 3 March 2012 7:30 PM to 10:00 PM

St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace
78 Bishopsgate
London, EC2N 4AG
United Kingdom

Phone: 020 7496 1610 / 07776136609
Email: candia@stethelburgas.org / music@stethelburgas.org
Doors open 6:45 pm. Music 7:30 pm
Admission doors £12
Admission advance £10
Website: http://stethelburgas.org/civicrm/event/info?id=379&reset=1

Check out her Website.

Check out her Facebook fan page.

 Check out her MySpace page.



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