Christmas news

About to post a video of Shiro Vuemba's solo on "Poupa". I started with this because it had received a sizable number of votes in the previous poll already and had been in line for a very long time.

I did not include the coda of the solo, the part played with the distorted guitar.

Next in line are the other two selections in the latest poll: a part played by the great Lokassa Ya Mbongo on "Suzana Coulibaly" and other parts extracted from the rich guitar texture of "Africa Mokoli Mobimba", woven by the brothers Dr Nico and Dechaud. Hope to have some time to make the videos in the coming few weeks.

Saludos a Barranquilla and next in line

I just uploaded a special request from Barranquilla, Colombia, probably the place where people appreciate soukous the most, outside of Congo.

I didn't know Prince Nico Mbarga but it seems that he has been one of the most successful african musician in terms of sales and notoriety. Here the guitar parts of an old classic: Aki Special.

Mbarga is from Nigeria and to me he sounds somewhere half way between the sunny congolese likembe and the bluesy modal kora music from west Africa. Very little cuban sound in this, if any at all.

I want to signal a great tutorial posted by Sparrowdudu, dedicated to beautiful soukous guitar lines of the great Caen Madoka. You can find the videos in this list. Don't miss them.

Last note: Aki Special won, so I did reset the vote-next-video poll. I am still defining the next in line (and I am actually working on Africa Mokili Mobimba already), depending on what I can actually do, but you can vote on the current three.

Update - August 2012

As expected I reached the point where I can't play enough to prepare new videos at the pace kept so far. It hasn't been bad anyway: I was expecting to go on for three or six months and I've been going on for almost one year. I did not finish most of the transcriptions, on purpose, so that I could include more guitarists, and I did not include anymore tabs in the videos, for the same reason.

I don't know yet how much time I will be able to dedicate to the GuitOp81 videos and to this website from now on but I will do as much as possible. The web hosting is paid for another six months (more or less) then we'll see. Worst case, the videos on youtube and on Vimeo should stay there.

Right now I have a few transcriptions requested by various people that I would like to do.

The first one is from this short video of Flamme Kapaya: Tshangi Tshobele.

It is classic Kapaya, not as crazy and overwhelming as Sous Sol but nice. The request came from a soukous fan and guitar player who already posted his own very good version here. I was hoping to see a lot of people posting videos of soukous solos, in response or in alternative to my videos, but apart from the usual unsung heroes not much happened so I was happy to exchange a few messages with th3wi and watch his video.

The next one is a transcription of the solo parts played by Christian Solo in the rehearsal video of Ferre Gola (here). I would like to know where those parts come from, I found one of them in lubukulukumu but I can't find the very first one. This is also a request. The solo in itself is not so exciting, at least in my view, but there is always something to learn. In this case the trill typical of Kapaya-Mogratana-Kimbangu is used in a simple way that in itself constitutes a very good exercise to develop that kind of speed.

The third transcription in the pipeline is going to take some time and it includes a few excerpts from a long generique of Koffi Olomide. Great guitar playing, not much fantasy in the phrases, or positions, but this soloist is a rhythm machine. He really kills with his sense of rhythm, and at crazy speed. I don't know his name and if anybody knows it I will appreciate if you send me a message. The request comes from another guitarist, 7Geblack, again one of the few that I see working on those solos.

I hope I will be able to record these three video soon and then I will see what comes.

That's all for now

Special requests

As announced I can't post videos as often as before. It takes time to learn the parts, even more to clean up the transcription and notate something, and some more to shot and edit the video. On the positive side there are already enough videos to keep anyone who wants to learn some soukous guitar solos pretty busy for quite some time. Personally I did not have much time to really work on the material that I posted, it would take much more time to really assimilate everything and make it part of my playing.

Next I would like to fill some of the most obvious gaps in the collection. There are so many great guitarists missing but I would like to include at least two as soon as possible: the great Franco and Lokassa ya Mbongo.

I have been looking a longtime for something that stands out from Franco's huge discography in terms of guitar lines and right now I am looking at his accompaniment guitar in Makambo Ezali Minene. I like it but I am not sure it is the most representative thing of Franco's style. In any case it would show a side of congolese guitar that is missing from my videos, but if you have something better to suggest please don't esitate to send me a message.

I have reason to suspect that my transcription of Ya Nini of Orchestre Veve is a Lokassa ya Mbongo's part because it certainly sounds like mi-compose, but just to be sure I was thinking about transcribing Tantine, even though I don't know which version to choose. I am pretty sure the most famous is the one with Zitany Neil and Dally Kimoko on solo, from the '80s, with a classic '80s synth, and there is a guitar and drum bridge that is 100% Lokassa, but then I found this youtube video of Souzy Kasseya playing Sulia Tantine and even there they seem to call Lokassa for the solo and it sounds very good. I will have to pick one, but probably it's going to be the Zitany Neil one. Another unbelievable Lokassa mi-compose solo is in Memi, from Orchestre Kiam, but that would take forever to transcribe so I am letting it go for now.

Next I have three requests that I would like to answer.

One is Aki Special, from Prince Nico Mbarga, who is nigerian, not congolese, but I can't ignore the great love that the wonderful people in Barranquilla have for this music so I will try to include this just for Barranquilla. The guitar lines are quite simple but it is not going to be easy to put together a video that makes sense.

The other requests are Awilo Longomba's Gladys, with Japonais Maladi on the guitar, and Poupa, with Shiro Vuemba.

Of course, at present the likelihood that I will do all those videos is quite low, but I will try.




After receiving many messages on this topic I have been thinking about two or three tutorial videos on the basics of soukous guitar as I understand it.

The first one would be about scales, providing a method to learn how to use the basic diatonic scale in soukous soloing. The idea would be to do everything in C major, then the viewer can transpose to other keys when practicing at home.
The content should be: