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True Palo Mayombe: Mambo's, Nganga's/Kindembo's & Forgotten Congo History

Updated: Oct 6, 2023

This post will go into the true use of Mambo's (songs/prayers) in Palo Mayombe and outline a true story from Dilanga Ncongo (ancient times) which ties into the application, reasons and power of Mambo's whilst enlightening people on the fact that Mambo's are not just songs that people dance to with no direction; but instead that Mambos are powerful songs/prayers based on true stories that cause the spirits/energies of Mayombe to manifest themselves and thus: Bring blessings, possess people and give guidance, manifest the intentions of the House/Nzo, keep Malongo alive and much more.

Palo Mayombe Offering

Palo Mayombe Mambo's Are Based On Real Stories with Deep Meaning

In Palo Mayombe, the Mambo's that we use are based on real stories of events that have happened in the past, as such the Mambo's are explaining an actual story that has a deep meaning behind it. The Mambo's are used and sung to open that portal and manipulate the energies of the old ways to come back to life and manifest themselves in the current day. This Mambo in the video below which starts at 1:25 (1m25) is based on the story of a particular woman that has a vivid history with the Congo's which we will delve deeper into in the following paragraphs.

There was a white lady (Mundele) who used to help the Congo's and the slaves; she would bring them food and tell the Congo's when to stop the drumming because people were coming to look for them and such things of this nature. She took care and looked out for the Congo's.

It turns out that someone close by had snitched and betrayed her and the Congo's. Because of this, the slave masters found out that it was this white lady who was helping the Congo's escape/feeding them and all of these things that are obviously against the wishes of the slave masters. When the slave masters found out, they grabbed her, killed her and buried her. So what the Congo's done was come out at night and grab her body, wrap it up in a sack and placed it on top of a wooden-stroller type of implement and wheeled her away to the cane fields, all the ways to where the Kilombo/Quilombo (war camps of escaped slaves) was.

Congo Kilombo Quilombo Escaped Slaves

The Congo's made a Prenda/Kindembo out of her. And they done this to adore her/thank her and she became somewhat of a 'Goddess' out of her to place it in relatable terms.

Ninya Sola is one of the ancient Kindembo's from Dilanga Ncongo (ancient times)

This is why the Mambo's of Palo Mayombe have real meaning behind them and are based on real stories. It is not simply saying things like 'Zarabanda, Zarabanda, Zarabanda, Zarabanda'.

A real Mayombero will use real stories from Dilanga Ncongo (ancient times) in the chorus of the Mambo where it's outlining events that happened in the past, and he will freestyle in-between the chorus to call upon these energies to come to life and come to the Ngoma/Drumming to: possess the people, bring blessings and direct the Nganga/Kindembo to manifest the goals and wishes of the house to come to life.

Mambo's are serious. Everything in Mayombe has a 'why' and a deep meaning behind it. We must emphasise that everything is done with a specific reason behind it and it has a spiritual answer to the purpose of whatever is being done.

Puya's between Mayombero's in conflict

There is another type of Mambo called a Puya which is a 'insult' per say and a type of 'diss' that Palero's would sing to eachother, almost like a battle of songs that would happen between warring Palero's in person. Sometimes the Puya's would start off in a lighthearted fashion as jester and banter between friends, however it could very quickly turn ugly and get more serious as the Puya's/mambos are exchanged and the intensity takes off.

The Puya's are sung in a witty manner with intelligence behind them so as to try and out-do the other person; all the whilst the Palero's are exchanging mambo's and manipulating the energies of the Nganga/Kindembo that is present to hit the person with full force after the person leaves the Puya. It is a very witty exchange and a Palero might leave one of these encounters to think he has won and received the upper hand; only to have a car hit him out of the blue on the way home afterwards or have a serious accident happen to him because the other Palero manipulated the energies through the mambo's (singing) and set him up for that to happen.

This doesn't mean Palo Mayombe is 'bad', obviously. You can use Palo Mayombe for good or bad; just like any tradition. This battle of Puya's that happens between Palero's outlines the importance of manipulation of the energies throughout Mambo's.

We hope you gained a deeper insight into Palo Mayombe in this post and an understanding behind the Mambo's that are integral to this beautiful and powerful tradition.

We wish you the best at our temple and success and happiness in all that you do. Be blessed.


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