Crossing in Popular Music in D.R. Congo: The Mixing of English in Lingala Lyrics
In the French-dominated multilingual D. R. Congo where Lingala music reigns supreme, it may seem unusual and unexpected to note the presence of English in lyrics where pervasive mixing of French in Lingala lyrics would be an unmarked phenomenon. This remarkable craze for English in Lingala lyrics in the 1970s and 1980s, by young musicians in a period where there was no obsession for, affiliation with, or inspiration from, the hip-hop movement which often carries the seed of (American) English, seems perplexing. It may assumedly symbolize, or project, values ranging from identity - imagined or real - to refusal, rebellion, or subversion and resistance. Better still, hybridization of this kind serves a variety of social, linguistic, or discourse functions. Would it signify a claim for an imagined or real hybrid identity? Was it a symbolic medium for expressing identity and solidarity? This type of phenomenon engenders a singular type of discourse embedded in the historical context of political, socio-economic and cultural changes of the time. The paper seeks to answers these key questions by reflecting on the music in which special crossing was prevalent at the time.