Friday, 17 June 2016
Too many times already this year, not least the past few days, it's been difficult to find a ready excuse to smile. So to leave a gig on Tuesday evening with my jaw aching just as much as my legs, was a real treat for the soul. I can't remember the last non-comedy show I saw that had me continuously beaming from ear to ear, quite as much as Congolese six piece Mbongwana Star did. The band's debut album, 'From Kinshasa', made my long-list at the end of 2015 and they are still out there promoting it in a truly joyous fashion. Guitarist Jean Claude (aka R9) appeared to be the musical director, keeping things gloriously tight but loose, while occasionally lurching into wildly off-kilter, Tony Iommi-esque solos. Meanwhile, Theo Nzonza, one of two wheel-chaired vocalists, was a blur, busting moves that put this able-bodied old fool to shame - '...is good?....is good...?' Theo repeatedly asked us in broken English. The roar of the audience's reply required no translation. Catch them if you can.
'Some things are over Some things go on Part of me you carry And part of me is gone'
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