Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Mbongwana Star hail from chaotic Kinshasa, the capital and largest city of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Two of the group's members, Sage Matuzolele and Randy Makana Kalambayi, were photographed just before they stepped onstage at the Pritzker Pavilion during the Millennium Park Summer Music Series. The musicians' camouflage-heavy regalia relates not just to the war-ravaged recent history of their home country, but also to Mbongwana Star's insurgent mix of traditional African rhythms and contemporary European electronic production. It's certainly no coincidence that in Lingala—one of the DRC's four national languages and the band's lingua franca—mbongwana means "change."
Originally published in the Chicago Reader.