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Lokassa Ya Mbongo Kassiya, Rhythm Guitarist and Cofounder
Soukous Stars is an all-star line up of Congolese musicians with hundreds of records between them by different bands. Lokassa is one of the few rhythm guitarists that have made it to his status of fame and success. That esteem is usually put upon the flashier lead guitarists. He is a veteran member and co-founder of the band who catapulted it to stardom with his Megamix Soukous albums by appealing to party favorites throughout Africa and those around the world who could not speak Congolese lingala, albeit mesmerized by his guitar theatrics.
Ngouma Lokito Shungu-Omba, Bass Guitarist and Cofounder
Where a perfect hybrid pattern of Congolese guitars is the bottom line, one can sing his heart out to kingdom come, but there will be no Soukous. This is where Ngouma Lokito becomes crucial to the unique sound. It goes back to tribal drumbeats eloquently expressed by Ngouma's bass guitar. Like priceless artwork that is unrecognized by many, his signature bass line is highly valued by music enthusiasts. His magical fusion with Lokassa and Shiko's guitars, led them to win Best Soukous Act at the Reggae & World Music Awards in New York on May 13, 2003.
Dally Kimoko, Former Solo Guitarist (complemented by Shiko)
Soukous Stars teams up the greatest guitarists in Congolese music history. And session demands for other artists in Paris, sometimes create scheduling conflicts. Any insinuation that Shiko replaced Dally Kimoko is off the mark. Since 9/11, the new U.S. audience prefers to enjoy music at home. Without any dancing, the speedy Soukous is less enthusing and the Sebenes start to sound all the same. Shiko brought back the old fashion rumba of the Congolese genius, Franco and the band rearranged the music to effectively complement for the absence of Dally's style.
Yondo Sister Kusala, Former Vocalist and Dancer
The Soukous Stars' musical and dancing star stepped out on her own in 1999, to a successful solo career. When started her career with her sister, they were called the Yondo Sisters, beside Tabu Ley. She then emigrated to France where she worked with various artists until she became a member of the Soukous Stars as a frontline vocalist with Shimita. These former members are referred here as a courtesy to dozens of clueless Lokassa fans who flock to the venues where Shimita's band performs only to be frustrated in that Lokassa is nowhere in sight.
Shimita el Diego (born Lukombo Nzambe), Former Vocalist
When Shimita started singing original songs in Ibo, Yoruba, Ashanti, Fantik and English, in addition to Lingala, Swahili, Chiluba, French and Spanish that he already knew, his West African audiences went wild and inadvertently idolized him, especially when he delivered his version of their anthem, Sweet Mother (probably a nostalgic reaction as they reminisce of the late Prince Nico Mbarga and Fela Kuti). And a somewhat grudged feeling that the Soukous explosion was drowning their juju and highlife music. In contrast, Congolese music is not about seeking the men that deliver the music, but extracting good music from any man, and talented musicians come by the dozens. Such forces of nature were pulling Soukous Stars in opposite directions. It is this aspect that contributed to Shiko's endurance for over twenty years, by being true to himself while his naturally gentle demeanor serves him well. In spite the fact that his image has never been portrayed on neither glitzy nor flamboyant album jackets, his exceptional music sells itself very well through Madilu, M'bilia Bel, Pepe Kalle, Tshala, Josky and the list goes on and on and on.