Baloji live at Village Underground
Written by Cecile1958
June 19, 2012
TEST The African/Belgian star combines rap with Congolese rhumba to create a unique contemporary sound. First London headline show for rising Congolese/Belgian star Baloji following his recent appearance at the Barbican opening for the mighty African super-group Orchestra Baobab.
The singer combines rap and hip-hop with Congolese rhumba to create a unique contemporary sound, here performing tracks from the critically acclaimed Crammed Records release Kinshasa Succursale, which featured an all-star line-up of guest musicians including Amp Fiddler, Konono No1, Royce Mbumba and La Chorale de la Grace, to name but a few.
Baloji, whose name means “sorcerer” in Swahili, was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1978. At the age of 4, he arrived in Belgium with his father and grew up in Liège. As a young adolescent, he discovered hip-hop, a passion for tagging, rap & dance.
At 15 he joined the collective Starflam, a Belgian hip-hop crew, who released a platinum selling disc “Survivant” (2001). Baloji quit the group in 2004 and turned his back on music.
It was a letter from his mother, whom he had not seen since 1981, and winning a poetry competition in Paris, that pushed him back to pursue the muse of music.
His first solo recording, “Hotel Impala” (2008), as much of a response to the letter from his mother as it was a quest to find his identity, was coloured with influences of soul, afrobeat, and hip-hop.
A certified Gold Record, the album won two Octaves de la music (a Belgian equivalant to the Grammys) as well as the Rapsat-Lelièvre Prize and the Brassens prize for lyric writing.
His new record Kinshasa Succursale has recently be released to critical acclaim.
‘A nuanced blend of verbal passion, traditional Congolese sounds, funk and reggae – Baloji could be the artist to give African rap a truly global profile.’ The Telegraph
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