November 6th, 2012
On Saturday Oct 27th at Town Hall, Earshot Jazz Festival presented a special concert of the group Staff Benda Bilili
Led by vocalist Ricky Likabu, Staff Benda Bilili is a band whose mesmerizing music and extraordinary story have been making an impression worldwide. Four in the group are elderly paraplegics, polio survivors, who play from customized tricycles. This group of street musicians from Kinshasa, DR Congo, is Coco Ngambali, composer, vocals, guitar; Theo Nsituvuidi, vocals, guitar; Djunana Tanga-Suele, vocals; Zadis Mbulu Nzungu, vocals; Kabamba Kabose Kasungo, vocals; Paulin ‘Cavalier’ Kiara-Maigi, bass; Cubain Kabeya, drums, vocals; Randy Buda, percussion; and Roger Landu, vocals and principal soloist, on an electrified satonge, a one-stringed lute he built out of a tin can.
Staff Benda Bilili makes music that mixes the pulse of Congolese rumba with voices that conjure the crooners of Havana, the toasters of Kingston and American bluesmen. This extraordinary band of astonishing power and beauty has been dazzling audiences and media the world over, on record, on stage and on the big screen. – SH