Staff Benda Bilili
Bouger le monde (Crammed Discs, 2012)
Staff Benda Bilili, the great street band from Kinshasha (Democratic Republic of Congo) is back with Bouger le monde. The Staff Benda Bilili musicians have gained years of experience playing live and their sound now is more cohesive and vibrant. Their sound is still based in the interplay of various guitars (including its wild one string instrument) and Congolese rumba with elements of blues, rock and pop.
The new pieces are lively and addictive. Bouger le monde was recorded in Kinshasa and presents some changes in the band’s lineup. There are three new members: drummer Montana, who joined the band right after the recording of the 1st album; lead guitarist Amalphi; and young percussionist Randy, who played with the band when he was a kid and later disappeared for a couple of years. The lead vocals are shared among seven singers: Coco, Ricky, Theo, bass player Cavalier, drummer Montana, Kabose, and Roger .
Staff Benda Bilili’s first album, Très Très Fort came out in 2009. It won several awards and sold over 150 000 units. “Benda Bilili!” the feature film dedicated to the story of the group was a phenomenon at the Cannes film festival, and achieved a high level of success.
The band members still live in Kinshasa. Their success has enabled the band members to improve their life conditions: each of the band members now has a house, or is building one; they’ve bought new motorbikes, and they can now afford to send their children to school. There are also enthusiastic about helping disabled people and homeless children around them to get homes and jobs, and are founding a school that will give them professional tuition in mechanics, carpentry, music and computer science. They’ve just created an NGO for that purpose.
Bouger le monde is a remarkable album of modern Congolese-roots music by an extraordinary band.
Staff Benda Bilili will be showcasing its debut album in Madrid (Spain) on Sunday, September 30th at
21:00 (9:00 pm) as part of the X Ciclo de Artes Escénicas y Discapacidad at La Casa Encendida.
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Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.