Join us for Original Roots on Fridays, this week we welcome the exceptional Kongo Dia Ntotila to the living room...
To secure a table for the show, book in for dinner at www.91livingroom.com/bookings
Kongo Dia Ntotila's sound is a blend of Africa's finest dance music styles, revived, modernised, and seamlessly fused with a neat dose of jazz. The band draw on a breadth of African rhythmic and sonic traditions, with strong influences of Congolese rumba and the sunshine sounds of seben guitar. It is pure Afro-joy: dance-inducing beats, polyrhythmic guitars, grooving bass, soaring brass, and beautiful harmonic vocals.
The band comprises UK jazz players John Kelly (guitar), Will Scott (saxophone) and Mike Soper (trumpet); with Mbouta Kissangwa (drums), Mulele Matondo (bass), and Diala Sakuba (rhythm guitar) all originally from Kinshasa, DRC. They have been described by Tom Robinson as "musicians of the very very highest standard...totally authentic - as good as anything you get coming out of Africa," while Max Reinhardt has called band leader, Mulele, "a visionary bassist".
The first founding of the band was around 2008/9 in Bradford, West Yorkshire, where Mulele was living while studying at Leeds College of Music. John turned out to be his jazz guitar tutor, and lessons became musical exchanges as Mulele shared the intricate patterns of sebene guitar. Together with a Congolese singer, they wrote material towards their first album released in 2012. Seben Steps to Heaven featured Central African dance floor riffs and lively Congolese vocals.
Ten years later, now London-based, the band just signed to Pussyfoot records, and have a second album out May 2019. The new 10-track record 360° brings the brass to the forefront of the musical conversation and a new direction to the KDN sound since their more vocal-heavy first release.
Championed by BBC DJs Tom Robinson and Max Reinhardt, Kongo Dia Ntotila have featured on BBC Introducing, BBC World Service, BBC Radio 3 and most recently on BBC 6 Music, where they played a live session on the Tom Robinson Show. Tom has described the music as "a great combination of sophistication, energy, musicianship and pure life-affirming spiritual uplift!" While Max Reinhardt (BBC3) says of Kongo Dia Ntotila live shows: "Wherever they go they bring a raucously joyful party with them."
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