Mbongwana Star: From Kinshasa (World Circuit)

 |   |  <1 min read

Mbongwana Star: Suzanna
Mbongwana Star: From Kinshasa (World Circuit)

Just as Memphis, Liverpool, Jamaica, Iceland and Sweden were not in the sightlines of pop music before great artists emerged from there, it's a fair bet 10 years ago no one would have put money on Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Then the Congotronics collections introduced us to the likes of Konono No1, Kisanzi Congo and others working with cheap electronic equipment and battered instruments to deliver deep, danceable and infectious Afro-rock.

Then Staff Benda Bilili (a one-string guitar, guys in wheelchairs) also sprang out of the city with vibrant pop-cum-world music.

This debut by Mbongwana Star – a seven piece founded by former members of Staff Benda Bilili – will catch many even further off-guard for its hip-hop influenced blend of Congolese rumba and bargain bin, electronic special effects.

Produced by Paris-based Liam Farrell (aka Dr L), this is an off-kilter, mashed-up freak-out of rumba'n'roll, UK-styled post-punk basslines, unusual vocals and chipping guitar-funk beats.

From the tumbling opener From Kinshasa To The Moon through the other nine unpredictable songs which follow (close to Byrne/Eno's Bush of Ghosts-meets-PiL if you need a half-wrong/right reference), you'll not find a more odd or good-natured album to baffle friends and yourself.

Kinshasa, huh? Who knew?

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

Etoile De Dakar: Once Upon a Time in Senegal (Sterns/Southbound)

Etoile De Dakar: Once Upon a Time in Senegal (Sterns/Southbound)

There is not exactly a shortage of collections of African music from the Sixties and Seventies these days: Fela is well covered so are the rumba scene out of Zaire, the Rail Band from Mali, the... > Read more

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Juana Molina: Un Dia (Domino)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Juana Molina: Un Dia (Domino)

This singer-songwriter from Argentina will confound any expectations you might have of someone who was once a comedy actress and in skit-shows on local televsion. This album with odd elements... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

GUEST ILLUSTRATOR ROSS MURRAY shares 10 of his favourite illustrated record covers

GUEST ILLUSTRATOR ROSS MURRAY shares 10 of his favourite illustrated record covers

THE DEAD C: Tusk  Not to be confused with the album of the same name by Fleetwood Mac, this record by the Dead C has a cover almost as dark & enigmatic as the music inside. The... > Read more

THE LOVE WE MAKE, a doco by ALBERT MAYSLES and BRADLEY KAPLIN (Shock DVD)

THE LOVE WE MAKE, a doco by ALBERT MAYSLES and BRADLEY KAPLIN (Shock DVD)

Whether you like Paul McCartney's music or not, this doco helmed by Albert Maysles (of the famous Maysles Brothers who did the Stones Gimme Shelter among dozens of other tracking-camera docos)... > Read more