rumba on the river

Planet Ilunga presents
Docteur Nico
Dieu de la Guitare

Release date: 22 September 2018

The Congo has given us many excellent guitar players, but only one of them earned the nickname 'Dieu de la Guitare'. With this new compilation, made in collaboration with Ignace Mukendi (Comite de gestion des œuvres musicales de Docteur Nico) and the children of Docteur Nico, Planet Ilunga recalls the life and musical career of the legendary Congolese guitar player and band leader Docteur Nico. 

Nicolas Kasanda wa Mikalayi stood for over 20 years at the forefront of Congolese rumba. Backed through his whole career by his older brother Dechaud, Nico introduced numerous innovations to Congolese rumba such as a remarkable take on Dominican merengue, the use of the Hawaiian guitar, the introduction of new rhythms and dances such as the kiri-kiri and kono, and especially the shimmering, electrified modern versions of traditional tunes from his native Kasai.

Thirty-three years after his death, we remember him as the most gifted guitar soloist of Congo. In this anthology we present an original selection of 26 exquisite songs, made between 1954 and 1970 with the groups African Jazz, Rock-a-Mambo, African Jazz Aile Nico, African Fiesta and African Fiesta Sukisa, many of them reproduced for the first time and mostly taken from the original 78 rpm or 45 rpm shellac/vinyl.

The album will be released on September 22, a symbolic date since it will be exactly thirty-three years after the early death of Nico in Brussels (1939 -1985).

 Click here to watch the video preview

Vinyl-only release

* Double LP: 26 tracks: tracklist
* Comes in a tri-fold album sleeve with extensive liner notes (in English & French) and firsthand information about the life of Docteur Nico
* 180 gram vinyl
* Restored and remastered tracks
* Limited and numbered release
* Worldwide distribution through carefully selected vinyl shops

Order info

Shops and distributors that would like to distribute this release, please contact me for wholesale details. For all the others: you can already pre-order your copy of this release by sending me an email at or going to the shop page on the Planet Ilunga website. I will send it out or you can pick it up in Brussels around September 22. For those who don't have the third Planet Ilunga release (O.K. Jazz - The Loningisa Years 1956-1961) yet, feel free to ask for a copy. I still have some left.

More info on the label

Planet Ilunga specializes in archiving, documenting and sharing the "Rumba Lingala" sound from the fifties and sixties from both the Congos. In the following years, Planet Ilunga wants to contribute to restore the rich Congolese music archive, in the first place through high quality vinyl issues and extensive booklets. Your sharing of this mailing, video or info to fellow (Congolese) music lovers would be very welcome.

Thanks for reading,
Bart from Planet Ilunga     

More info & pre-orders:
Please find updates soon on the Planet Ilunga Facebook page and website