Monday, December 22, 2008

I Got The Feelin

Victor 'Bovick' Bondo Gala turned 60 this year. In Gary Stewart's Rumba On The River, there's not much information about him, except a few lines mentioning his membership in Dr. Nico's Orchestre African Fiesta, Tabu Ley's Afrisa, and Verckys' Orchestre VeVe. I've always been fascinated by this 'Bovick' since hearing tunes like Sookie and Save Me (see Radiodiffusion Internationasionaal Annexe or Voodoo Funk).

Bovick grew up in Lubumbashi (then Elisabethville). Being close to southern Africa, Bovick was exposed to more Anglophone influences and music. He also got to know some English. When he joined Dr. Nico's African Fiesta in the late 1960s, he helped popularize the Orchestra's fame in Kinshasa, no doubt because of his knowledge of American Soul (and some say his resemblance to Jermaine Jackson of the Jackson Five helped his strong appeal among the young girls of Kinshasa). An accomplished musician (guitar, bass), he stayed with Dr. Nico for two years. Then he joined Verckys' new Orchestre Veve, where he probably could explore his musical interests into soul and r&b further, with the likes of Mario, Djeskain, and Max Sinatra, of later Trio Madjesi fame. I wonder how many compositions should actually be credited to Bovick; it is clear he played a bigger role than has been acknowledged.

Later, he also played and became 'Chef d'Orchestre' with Tabu Ley. During one concert tour in Europe, a couple of musicians, including Bovick, decided to stay in France. Bovick eventually settled in Switzerland, where he continues his musical career, playing, teaching, setting up studios, and selling musical equipment.

During a short work visit to Dakar, I managed to find some vinyl, including this 45 (SUKISA 86). On the B-side, there's another great Bovick tune, "I got the feelin." It's so much fun to discover this piece of Africa's vast musical history. I've never heard this before, nor seen it elsewhere. I will post more of these soon; I know it's been very calm on this blog the last months but there's more to come.


I Got The Feelin


Stuart said...

Howdy Pieter,

Great post on Bovick. I never been able to find that much information on him. Great track, too. That song was originally recorded by The Super Eagles of Gambia (as "Sock It To Me") and then covered by El Rego et ses Commandos of Benin (who renamed it "Feeling You Got").

calumbinho said...

Thanks a lot and welcome back!

Neu Mejican said...

Great to have ya always have impeccable taste in your posts.

Anonymous said...

Hey just in time for christmas. Welcome back.


Frank said...

"Feeling you got" was released under this title byt he Super Eagles as a 45 on Ghana Films. besides the cover by El Rego, there's another one by Super Star de Ouidah.

"I got the feeling" that's covered here is a James Brown song and has nothing to do with the above mentioned track.

This record does kick some serious ass however!

great to have you back Pieter!




Nice track.
Bovick Shamar has a MySpace site:
It features audio & video clips.

Pieter said...

Thanks for all the mails, and the info on the various song versions. I thought it sounded like a JB song but wasn't sure. Thanks Rumba Bantu for the myspace link: I'd seen it and tried to contact Bovick but no response yet.

If you're fluent in French, look up
for info on other young Kinshasa bands, like the Y.S.S. Boys, Stukas Boys, Mustang... I'd sure love to hear more of these bands.

Jo Dread said...

I am Jo Dread Daniels and performed with Bovick on keyboards while in Paris back in the early 80's.

He was great working with then. We did a tour of Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean during one of his releases.
Please pass this email address to him.

I am still in the US North Carolina.

Anonymous said...

i'm actually working with bovick in the studio.. I'm from zurich and he is living in st.louis for the moment....

check the new songs on the myspaceprofile....
(we just recorded it)

and to write him e-mails its:

greets by dj airafrique.....

my mail:

Peter Wermelinger said...

Hello again, I found another very interesting funk 45 for the funk lexicon on your blog. "African Fiesta & Bovick: "I got the feelin". Can you send me high quality scan (600x600 pixel/300dpi) of this 45s label A and B side? Like to add this to the funk lexicon picture gallery. My email = (,

if you send scan, you can indicate full name so I could add you to the contributors list of the lexicon.

Best wishes from Switzerland, Peter

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