Friday Feature: Baloji, Music from Congo

It’s common to hear generalizations about “Africa,” which is an incredibly diverse collection of 55 countries and countless cultures, languages and experiences.  Music and dance trends do spread throughout the continent, though.

It is often said across the continent that you can find the best current dance music by looking for the most violent conflict.  “Sorrow and tribulation makes the need to forget with music and dancing,” a friend explained while trying to teach me how not to ‘dance like a mzungu” (white person in Swahili).  That was 2004 in Malawi.  We were listening to Congolese music then.  Sadly, the conflict there continues, as does the popularity of Congolese music across Africa.

Baloji has played at music festivals in the US, including South By Southwest in Austin in March 2013 and GlobalFest in New York earlier this year.  This youtube video was shot in Congo’s capitol, Kinshasa, so you can see what it looks like today while reading along to the lyrics with English subtitles.  Enjoy.  And, sadly, too, I still dance like a mzungu, in case you’re wondering.

(Every Friday we highlight one entertainment option related to our clients or some aspect of our work to help you celebrate the weekend and possibly recommend to employers and other community supporters in the following week.)

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