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

Afrobeast: Yaaba Funk (Sterns/Southbound)

Afrobeast: Yaaba Funk (Sterns/Southbound)

Here's a true meltdown of many African styles from a multi-culti/multi-continent group from Brixton which pulls together juju guitars and a horn section, brings in some rolling Afrobeat percussion... > Read more

Aziza Brahim: Abba el Hamada (Glitterbeat/Southbound)

Aziza Brahim: Abba el Hamada (Glitterbeat/Southbound)

The final track on this moving album could not be more timely. It is Los Muros/The Walls and the lyrics in an English translation run in part, “Because of the exile caused by the walls I'm... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . THE SHAGGS: Sisters doing it for themselves

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . THE SHAGGS: Sisters doing it for themselves

When Don Emerson realised his sons Donnie and Joe had musical ambitions he was enormously supportive. He bought them instruments and then, on the family farm in Washington state, built them a... > Read more

IN LOVE WITH THESE TIMES by ROGER SHEPHERD

IN LOVE WITH THESE TIMES by ROGER SHEPHERD

Just as Simon Grigg did with his excellent How Bizarre (nominally about the story behind that remarkable global hit out of Auckland), so too does Flying Nun founder Roger Shepherd here extend... > Read more