Zaiko Langa Langa (also spelled Zaïko Langa Langa and in other variants)[1] is a popular Contemporary band from DR Congo. Their music and creativity has greatly influenced Congolese and African popular culture like no other band has done. Voted and crowned band of the century in DR Congo ” Zaiko remain the most influential band ever in the history of African music. The word “Zaiko” is a portmanteau for the lingala phrase Zaire ya bankoko, meaning “Zaire of our ancestors”, where “Zaire” must be read as a reference to the river by that name, now called Congo. The meaning of the phrase “Langa Langa” is controversial; according to the band’s website, it means “marvelous” or “almighty”.[2]

Founded in the early 1969 by D.V. Moanda, Marcelin Delo, Henry Mongombe, Olemi Eshar-Eshar dem’belina and Andre Bita, Zaiko Langa Langa survived into the 2000s (decade), and have been largely popular through the decades. Because of their “rebel” and “hippie” attitude, and their innovative approach to soukous, they became a symbol of the new generations of post-independence Zaire,[3] and are sometimes compared to the Rolling Stones for their appeal on the Congolese youth.[4]

The band has experienced several personnel changes, and a number of prominent soukous musicians have been in their lineup; examples are Bozi Boziana, Dindo Yogo, Evoloko Jocker, N’Yoka Longo and Bimi Ombale.[5] Several soukous band formed as spin-offs of Zaiko Langa Langa; these include Isifi Lokole, Yoka Lokole, Viva La Musica, Grand Zaiko Wa Wa, Langa Langa Stars, Zaiko Familia Dei, Basilique Loningisa, Choc Stars, Anti Choc, and Zaiko Nkolo Mboka. This large group of related bands is sometimes referred to as “Clan Langa Langa” (i.e., “the Langa Langa family”).

In 2000, Zaiko Langa Langa were awarded by the Congolese Media Association as the best Congolese musical group of the 20th century.