staff benda bilili

November 3, 2009


Last night’s hoped-for sneak preview of Staff Benda Bilili turned out to be more indirect than expected, due to the members of this band from Congo needing a bit more time to adjust to a wet and November-y Oslo. But French filmmakers Renaud Barret and Florent de la Tullaye who are busy getting their documentary about the most famous handicapped band in Africa did a great job in whipping up enthusiasm, not only for Benda Bilili’s show tomorrow at Rockefeller, but also their singularly no-nonsense approach to everything that life deals out to them.

After being thrown out of various other bands in Kinshasa (for always being late, since moving around town in their home-made wheelchair-trishaws isn’t trivial), the various members decided to start their own band, playing on the street, and rehearsing in the zoo (which is why you can hear toads on their track ‘Polio‘). In between all that, they also find time to protect street kids from the cops and take care of their own families – and now be the hottest new rumba funk band on the planet.

Don’t believe me? Just go to their show, I’m planning to tomorrow and can’t wait. They’re also playing in London, Paris, Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Bristol and Oxford this month – that should cover all six remaining Myyear readers. Sorry though toc – their show in Copenhagen was on Sunday, but you guys gave them the Womex 09 prize, so you rock anyway!


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