A dark, thundering Kinshasa meets Paris soundworld. Ecstatic vocals, broken beats, subterranean bass and full-throttle energy. This four-piece group of sonic groundbreakers have delivered a scintillating debut album. The fulfillment of their long-held dream to create an African band with the weight and sensory attack of knife-edged rock and hot-wired club beats.
You’re in a club in Paris – the ‘Djakarta’ maybe, or the ‘Mbuta Lombi’, or the ‘Lossi Ya Zaza’. Not just anywhere in Paris, but in that raucous, feverish little African village they call Chateau Rouge. 10th arrondissement. You could be back in Matongé, downtown Kinshasa, or in the Grand Marché, centre ville. You feel at home. But it’s freezing outside. You’re definitely in Europe. Cops with CS gas canisters hooked to their belts are roaming around harassing the illegal hawkers, the little shégué street-kids who hang around the entrance to the metro, touting for wig shops and nail salons or trying to sell you cheap phone cards so you can call home and tell your mama and papa you’re ok, still alive, ‘having a ball’. The cops are asking African youth for their papers. But you haven’t got any. Tough shit if your luck runs out. This life has no safety net.
The music’s pumping loud and dirty: hip hop, electro, soukous, ndombolo, funk, rock, grime, whatever. You’re a citizen of everywhere, balling life under the radar in this African Blade Runner where the whole world meets, soaking up every beat going, no excuses, no regrets, loving it, eating it, spitting it out.
Welcome to Bantou Mentale, a brand-new chapter in a very long story. The band was born in Chateau Rouge and born out of Matongé. Two worlds, one universe. Drummer, song-writer and all-round concept guy Cubain Kabeya – originally from the DRC, now resident in Paris – has been in or around every big thrill to come.......