Mbongwana Star

This artist performed at the VFMF in 2017

Mbongwana Star
Democratic Republic of Congo

Mbongwana means change, and that’s exactly what Coco Ngambali and Theo Nzonza were looking for when they formed Mbongwana Star. After playing in Staff Benda Bilili, one of Kinshasha’s hottest bands for several successful albums and international tours, the pair knew that it was time to bust out and try something new. They’d grown tired of the expectations that audiences had developed for what African music should sound like, and they wanted to move far beyond the rhumba funk of Staff Benda Bilili into uncharted territory.

The duo were determined to record something that mirrored the creative genius they experienced all around them in the streets of Kinshasha, Africa’s third most populous city and the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. They also didn’t want to be African artists whose music related solely to Africa, and were searching for something that reflected the larger world around them.

In order to get there, they listened to everything they could get their hands on – punk, new wave, hip hop and electronica – in order to recapture the highly modern, experimental spirit of African music from the seventies and early eighties. Their debut recording, From Kinshasha, is the stunning result – and this summer, Mbongwana Star will be appearing at the festival to share their driving, intoxicating new music.

We dare you not to dance!