Versatile and talented Paris-based Congolese singer and dancer Yondo Kusala Sister is in Nairobi on a private visit.
But the former Soukous Stars band member, best known for her ‘Bazo’ hit song will not hesitate to seize any opportunity to popularise some of her new and old songs.
Yondo, who last visited Kenya 24 years ago, is elated to be back and is looking forward to meeting some of her old fans.
Speaking to the Nation onWednesday, she said: “Though I hadn’t planned any show as I am on holiday, I still look forward to using this chance to stage some shows in Kenya and Tanzania.”
Nairobi fans could get an opportunity to meet her on Friday, when she is expected to make a guest appearance during the grand launch of the new Hotel Tembo and Club in Ongata Rongai, which has been billed as the new home of Congolese music entertainment.
The show will also be graced by Nairobi-based Congolese band Les Mangelepa, led by veteran singer and composer Kabila Kabanze ‘Evani’.
Born Denise Kusala Yondo into a musical family, she made her music debut in 1975 in the legendary Tabu Ley’s Afrisa International alongside her elder sister, Chantal Yondo.
Their mother was half Congolese and Belgian, while their father was Congolese. “I owe my success to Tabu Ley, for having inspired me by transforming me from a dancer into a singer,” she said. She followed the path of such Congolese songbirds as Mbilia Bel and Tshala Muana, who also started out as dancers.
Mbilia Bel joined Afrisa soon after Yondo had left the group to pursue a solo career in 1982.
Yondo’s Kenyan fans will probably recall the electrifying stage performance during an URTNA live show at Moi International Sports Centre Gymnasium in Nairobi when she was a part of Soukous Stars band.
During that tour, she was accompanied by veteran guitarist Lokassa ya Mbongo, singer Shimita El Diego and guitarist Saladin Pereira.
Later, the Soukous Stars band visited Kenya during a concert tour organised by then mercurial Nairobi-based Congolese promoter Tamukati Ndongala (deceased).
“But I last visited Kenya as a solo artiste after a performance tour of Tanzania,” she recalled. Yondo, who was born in Bukavu in eastern DR Congo, has, since settling in Paris, where she lives with her three children, toured with Soukous Stars and other groups.
Besides ‘Bazo’ and ‘Wapi yo’, she has many other great songs in albums such as ‘Demiere Minute’ and ‘Agenda’.
She is looking forward to launching her song “J’ambrasseriai’ in Kenya. Aware of the popularity of rhumba among African music lovers, Yondo has incorporated the beats in the song.
Yondo is also expected to make guest appearances at other venues in Nairobi that feature African music.