Baloji, whose name means “Sorcerer” in Swahili, was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He grew up in Liège where he became a significant part of the Belgian hip-hop scene. At 15, he was already a part of Starflam Collective who had a platinum selling disc Survivant in 2001. It was Baloji’s first solo album that brought him back to his African roots. He reconnected with his mother in the Congo for the first time since 1981 and recorded an album full of soul, afrobeat, and hip-hop entitled Hotel Impala in 2008.
This time around, Baloji decided to dig deeper into his roots by recording his latest album, Kinshasa Succursale, in Kinshasa with the likes of Konono No.1, soukous stars Zaïko Langa Langa, American soul maverick Amp Fiddler, brass band Fanfare La Confiance, the choir Choeur La Grâce and many more. The result is a diverse range of sounds and influences that fit perfectly with Baloji’s vocals.
Here is “Le Jour d’après (Indépendance Cha-Cha)” sung with Royce Mbumba. This is a nice remake of the Congolese classic from 1960. Baloji directed this video and is planning on making a short film for the album. Try to catch him on tour with his exciting live band Orchestre de la Katuba.