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DRC Street Musicians Staff Mbongwana International In Studio

Staff Mbongwana International, the new band from ex-Staff Benda Bilili leader Coco, preview rehearsal material and announce plans for a summer 2014 tour.


Staff Mbongwana International is the latest project to come out of the split of DRC street band Staff Benda Bilili, the subjects of a Cannes-selected documentary focusing on group members' physical disabilities and unbarred DIY approach to making music. Staff Bilili's Coco Yakala Ngambali and Theo Nzonza Nsutuvuidi front the new afrofunk-rock outfit along with strong support from percussionist Randy Makana Kalambayi, who contributed to Staff Benda Bilili's sophomore album Bouger Le Monde. We recently spotted the new Staff incarnation is back in the studio and already previewing new rumba-influenced material. The band will be touring their forthcoming 1 000 000 C'est quoi? later on this year. In the meantime, check out a full acoustic rehearsal of their latest effort "Mandongo" and take a look at some shots from day one of recording below. For more from Staff Mbnwana International, catch this rehearsal featuring all original material performed in Kinshasa over here.

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7 Gengetone Acts You Need to Check Out

The streets speak gengetone: Kenya's gengetone sound is reverberating across East Africa and the world, get to know its main purveyors.

Sailors' "Wamlambez!"Wamlambez!" which roughly translates to "those who lick," is the cry the reverberated round the world, pushing the gengetone sound to the global stage. The response "wamnyonyez" roughly translates to "those who suck" and that should tell you all you need to know about the genre.

Known for its lewd lyrics and repetitive (often call and response) hooks, gengetone makes no apologies for belonging to the streets. First of all, most artists that create gengetone are grouped into bands with a few outliers like Zzero Sufuri riding solo. The songs themselves often feature a multiplicity of voices with screams and crowds coming through as ad libs, adding to this idea that this is definitely "outside" music.

Listening to Odi wa Muranga play with his vocal on the track "Thao" it's easy to think that this is the first, but gengetone fits snuggly in a history of sheng rap based on the kapuka style beat. Kapuka is onomatopoeically named, the beats have that repetitive drum-hat-drum skip that sounds like pu-ka-pu-ka-pu. Artists like Nonini were asking women to come over using this riff long before Ochungulo family told them to stay home if they aren't willing to give it up.

Here's seven gengetone groups worth listening to.

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