Mbongwana Star: From Kinshasa | Album Review
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.