The band was formed in 1970 as Orchestra Zaiko. Soon people started calling them "Zaiko Langa Langa" in part because Langa Langa was the title of one of their songs and in part because it meant "to get drunk" in Lingala. Original members included Papa Wemba, Evoloko Lay Lay, Zamungana and Nyoka Longo. The group revolutionized Congolese music, adopting a more up tempo beat, abandoning wind instruments and emphasizing the snare drum and the solo guitar. The percussion rhythms were adapted from traditional Congolese music and the sebene became more prominent.