Bibi Tanga and the Selenites
40° Of Sunshine (Nat Geo Music , 2012)
With their latest album, 40° Of Sunshine, Bibi Tanga and the Selenites continue in the direction of various forms of afro-rooted music. “On this album, the band was in a sunny place,” says Tanga. “On our first two albums, the moon was our central symbol figure. This time it’s the sun.”
The album is the result of the bands’ studio jams. Bibi Tanga and the Selenites includes Le Professeur Inlassable on loops, Arthur Simonini on violin and keyboards, Rico Kerridge on guitar, Arnaud Biscay on drums, and Tanga on bass and vocals.
There is straight ahead 1970s-inspired American-style funk on 40° Of Sunshine with English vocals on pieces like Poet of the Soul, My Heart is Jumping, Can’t Handle This, Laughing Song, Dark Funk, and the title track 40° Of Sunshine.
Bibi Tanga and the Selenites introduce African flavors, with Sango vocals and rhythms from Central Africa on Banda a Gui Koua and Kangoya (kangoya is palm wine). A few pieces step out of the mold, such as the rockish Do what You Wanna Do; the bilingual Happy Dustman with electronic beats, vocals in English and French, funky bass and guitar and strings; the hip hop beats of People Are Working.
Bibi Tanga was born in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, but his family emigrated to Europe. He Spent time in Russia and France. “I remember the first time that I realized I wasn’t white,” Bibi remembers “I was four years old, in Moscow, and the idea of race, of color, just hadn’t occurred to me. I felt like an outsider until I was 10 and my parents returned to Paris.”
In Paris, Tanga listened to British new wave, African pop, and American blues and R&B. In his teen years, he learned how to play guitar, bass and saxophone. “My father had a lot of records and I listened to everything – Franco and Tabu Ley from Congo, Fela from Nigeria and Bembeya Jazz from Guinea. I loved James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley, disco, funk, soul, reggae, ska, R&B. There’s a heritage of black music from around the world and I’m the heir to it.”
In 2000, Tanga joined French funk collective Malka Family and recorded his first album Le vent qui soufflé. In 2003, he met Professeur Inlassable (The Tireless Professor), another musician with a similar pespective, and recorded Yellow Gauze, his international presentation.
On 40° Of Sunshine, Bibi Tanga and the Selenites have put together a sizzling funk party with an African twist.
Buy 40° Of Sunshine