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

TEN SONGS WHICH CONJURE UP A MYTHICAL PACIFIC: From Blue Hawaii to the mean streets of urban Auckland

TEN SONGS WHICH CONJURE UP A MYTHICAL PACIFIC: From Blue Hawaii to the mean streets of urban Auckland

Auckland, the city with the largest Polynesian population in the world, has an annual Pasifika Festival to celebrate this cultural diversity. But the songs picked here conjure up a mythical... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE WORLD MUSIC QUESTIONNAIRE . . . Jamie MacDowell

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE WORLD MUSIC QUESTIONNAIRE . . . Jamie MacDowell

One is good with his fingers, the other is good with his mouth. Beatbox sensation, Tom Thum – best known for the most watched TEDx talk of all time: Beatbox Brilliance –... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Crispy'n'chilli squid

Crispy'n'chilli squid

Cannot tell a lie, this is a variation on something from Nigella Bites -- but with a twist. Real tasty starter, but it does involve gettin' squishy with it because you really do need fresh squid... > Read more

U2: My unforgettable fire

U2: My unforgettable fire

It was quite a few years ago now but I'll never forget it. U2 damn near killed me. Them, the Arizona sun, a famous architect and tequila actually. It was during their Pop-Mart tour -- the one... > Read more