22

SATURDAY

In 1948, Kinshasa-based singer-guitarist Wendo scored the first-ever pan-African hit with “Marie-Louise,” a song that reputedly raised the dead when sung at midnight. These days, a tune with that kind of power would be an international story, but Wendo’s regional success came too early for the current global appetite for novelty. So the performer had to wait more than 50 years to undertake his first European and American tours. Wendo still plays Congolese rumba, a re-Africanized Afro-Cuban style characterized by Latin rhythms and sweetly high-pitched guitar. His latest album (released under the name Wendo Kolosoy, which is closer to his real one, Antoine Kalosoyi) is titled Marie Louise and includes that song. At 75, why mess with a winning formula—especially when, for three-quarters of the world, it’s still a novelty? Wendo performs at 7:30 p.m. at National Museum of Natural History’s Baird Auditorium, 10th and Constitution Avenue NW. $20. (202) 357-3030. (MJ)