tue 10/12/2019

CD: Staff Benda Bilili - Bouger Le Monde | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Staff Benda Bilili - Bouger Le Monde

CD: Staff Benda Bilili - Bouger Le Monde

Congo's musical paralympians strike again

Wheelchair bound but firing on all cyclinders: Congo's Staff Benda Bilili

With the overwhelming acclaim that welcomed their first album, Très Très Fort, the musical paralympic champions Staff Benda Bilii faced a challenge with their second. Would their unusually stirring backstory as disabled polio victims and destitute street children in Kinshasa become a burden rather than a draw?

Bouger Le Monde doesn’t disappoint, although there are moments when their very exuberance becomes a little excessive, as if they were responding to audiences that clearly preferred the super-charged frenzy of their up-tempo rumba to the slower songs that brought greater balance and diversity to the first album. The cheek of the tin-can guitar, played with great dexterity and feeling by Roger Landu continues to give the band a trademark edge, yet there are times when the rudimentary instrument’s almost irritating sound lurches into cliché as it predictably surfaces on every track. 

The polish of Staff Benda Bilili’s sound is delightful - the sweetness of the vocal harmonies, characteristic of the popular music of Congo set against intricate guitar and percussion cross-rhythms have irresistible charm. The production, once again by Vincent Kenis, the man behind the much rougher sound of Congotronics is a little more audacious this time around. There is more depth and intricacy as well as some welcome subtlety in the distorted guitar riffs that embellish “Djambulla” and “Mutu Esalaka”. But the band’s strength derives mostly from the high energy and good feeling that they communicate: a quality of emotion that must surely have been fuelled by (as well as contributing to) their triumphant conquest of adversity.

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Bouger Le Monde doesn’t disappoint, although there are moments when their very exuberance becomes a little excessive


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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