Album: Staff Benda Bilili, Bouger Le Monde (Crammed)


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The Independent Culture

If Staff Benda Bilili aren't either opening or closing the Paralympic Games, somebody's missing a trick: these Congolese polio victims exemplify the refusal to let disability determine one's opportunities every bit as much as the strongest athlete.

Bouger Le Monde offers a celebration of life: "Osali Mabe" brims with uptempo energy and sparkling soukous guitar lines, while "Bilanga" is speedy rumba-rock stippled with percussion and streaked with the banshee runs of Roger Landu's satongé. Their songs focus on self-reliance – "My handicap doesn't stop me from being clever," they sing in "Mutu Esakala" – and they're unafraid of criticising gangsters, priests and politicians. After all, they've faced down tougher challenges. 

Download: Osali Mabe; Bilanga; Djambula