Awilo Longomba was born in Kinshasa (formally, Léopoldville). His father was from the Mongo region of the Ecuador and his mother was also from the Ecuador region of Ngombe and Congo Brazzaville. His father, Vicky Longomba, was the famous lead singer and founder of “Tout puissant OK Jazz” during the golden age of Congolese rumba, had a big influence on our artist. Since childhood, Awilo spent every waking moment in the music scenes attending his father’s rehearsals. Very quickly his passion for music grew, and instead of going to classes, he started drumming for various groups of Kinshasa, including “l’orchestre de Lita Bembo. He joined the orchestra “Viva La Musica” led by the great Papa Wemba as a drummer, and Awilo had his real first taste of live performance on his first international tour in Europe and to Japan in 1985 and 1986.
As the fever he caught during his tour grew stronger, he decided to pursue his artistic carrier and moved to France. His reputation as one of the best drummers in France spread very quickly. This allowed him to collaborate on numerous records and toured worldwide with several African artists such as Tshala Muana, Oliver Ngoma, Kanda Bongo Man just to name a few.
But Awilo’s ambition didn’t stop there. In 1992 he decided to leave “Viva La Musica” and formed his own group “La Nouvelle Génération” of which he became the leader. This new band became very popular in Europe and produced several albums.
In 1995, the career of Awilo, the singer, took off and he left “La Nouvelle Génération”. He released his first solo album “Moto Pamba” in which he was the composer, the lead singer and of course the drummer. The Techno-Soukous star was born. His success couldn’t be ignored! He finally put the drums down and decided to concentrate on his singing and started touring in East Africa and in Europe. This first CD landed him the “Best Central Africa Artist Awards” at the KORA AWARDS 1996 and 1997 (All Africa Music Awards, held in Sun City, South Africa)
Since then, it has been non-stop for Awilo. His second round in the studio validated his popularity. He released “Coupé Bibamba”, in 1998 with the collaboration of Jocelyne Bérouard. The controversial title cut “Coupé Bibamba” that denounces poverty in Africa with catchy song lines: Comment tu t’appelles? Je m’appelle… Coupé Coupé Bibamba! The title hits the number 1 spot on the African and European charts very quick and stayed for several weeks. Several titles from the same CD followed.
In July 2000, Awilo released his third CD “Kafou Kafou” this CD sent him back to the KORA 2001 where Awilo was recognized for his outstanding contribution to African music and received “Judges Special Awards” during the KORA 2001.
Awilo is the MOST WANTED Congolese artists on the African continent and Europe. He has toured in African counties such as Nigeria, Cameroon, Uganda, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, Togo, Zambia, Gabon, Mali etc…). Awilo also has toured in Europe (Switzerland, Belgium, Great Britain etc…) as well as the United States.
His talent received notoriety when Sony music requested a remix funk version of his “Coupé bibamba” with James D-Train to be included in the compilation “Tribute to the Funk” released in June 2003 and became a summer hit. The remix will also be included in “African Dance Floor” compilation. Awilo also performed at Zenith concert hall in Paris with other American artists (Jocelyn Brown, Anita Ward, Imagination…) who were part of the compilation.
Awilo has once again demonstrated his talent by producing his latest CD “Mondongo”. It is an electrifying blend of kompas, rumba, R&B and soukouss… with the collaboration of other great African artists such as Lokua Kanza, “Mondongo” is a guaranteed success!.