Monday, May 18, 2009

CD Review: Join Congo's Staff Benda Bilili

Staff Benda Bilili
Tres Tres Fort

The band's name is taken from "Benda Bilili" which means "look beyond appearances". Interestingly, the band is comprised of paraplegic street musicians from Congo. They hail from a land of diverse languages, including Kikongo, French, Portuguese, Lingala, and Kituba. Tres Tres Fort shares their musical talents on guitar, bass, vocals, and a unique one-string lute called a satongue. Eight musicians in all comprise Staff Benda Bilili. The instrumental parts are fairly simple, yet engaging. The simplicity is far from banal, as many of the tunes incorporate the rumba and funk rhythms of Latin America or breezy melodies from the Madagascar coast. In fact, you will hear a hint of Orchestra Baobab and the Bedouin Jerry Can Band. The acoustic rhythm is top-notch and the vocals are sincere. Overall, Tres Tres Fort is a pleasant listening experience free from any handicap whatsoever. ~ Matthew Forss

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