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MBONG­WANA STAR

From Kin­shasa ★★★★

World Cir­cuit

Pick­ing them­selves up from the melt­down of Staff Benda Bilili af­ter two suc­cess­ful al­bums, song­writ­ers Coco Ngam­bali and Theo Nzonza sought a new sound, a “change” (mbong­wana). Their meet­ing with Ir­ish/Parisian pro­ducer Liam Far­rell (aka Doc­tor L – pro­ducer of Tony Allen’s ex­per­i­men­tal Black

Voices) was the cat­a­lyst. A me­an­der­ing bassline, a wash of elec­tron­ics and drift­ing vo­cals build to a funky rumba melée, voices call­ing and re­spond­ing. The sweetly plain­tive Coco Blues is fol­lowed by a per­fect rock ‘n’ roll mo­ment as guests, Konono No 1, kick in with their trade­mark dis­torted thumb-pi­anos; and 1

mil­lion c’est Quoi? with its lyri­cal gui­tar lines and up­lift­ing voices is a glo­ri­ous fi­nale. Fash­ioned from the cru­cible of Kin­shasa’s re­cy­cle-re­use cul­ture, this is a tri­umphant piece of alchemy. world­cir­cuit.co.uk

NIGEL WOOD

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