Front Row

Baloji: globalFEST 2014

Hear Baloji Live At globalFEST 2014

What happens when an artist mixes the suavity of Congolese rumba, the sweat and funk of James Brown, lilting soukous guitar, the visual flair of the sapeurs and the sensibilities of 21st-century hip-hop? The charismatic Congolese-Belgian singer Baloji has one answer. As he sings in the tune "Karibu Ya Bintou (Welcome to Life in Limbo)," his collaboration with the band Konono No. 1, "I came to reinvent tradition."

While he's been quietly building a career in the U.S. over the past couple years, he was in prime shape at globalFEST 2014, backed by an amazing band whose members included the Congolese guitarist Dizzy Mandjeku, who collaborated with legends like Franco and Tabu Ley, and who is himself a treasured bandleader.

With his electrifying stage presence and style to spare, Baloji had the globalFEST crowd wrapped around his finger. He also had some pointed things to say about perspective — both about his own and the audience's — and not only in his lyrics. "This isn't world music," he said at one point between songs. "This is our music."

Set List:
  • "À L'Heure D'Été"
  • "Mamy Wata"
  • "I'm Going Home"
  • "Nazongui"
  • "Secours Populaire"
  • "Karibu"
  • "Congo"
Credits:

Producers: Mito Habe-Evans, Anastasia Tsioulcas; Videographers: Olivia Merrion, A.J. Wilhelm; Editor: Gabriella Garcia-Pardo; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Event Coordinator: Saidah Blount; Special Thanks: globalFEST, Webster Hall; Executive Producers: Anya Grundmann.

[+] read more[-] less

More From World

Rodrigo Amarante performs a Tiny Desk Concert. Sarah Tilotta/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Sarah Tilotta/NPR

Tiny Desk Concerts

Rodrigo Amarante

A veteran of Little Joy and Los Hermanos, Amarante makes warm, tender music as a solo artist.

Yasmine Hamdan performs at a Tiny Desk Concert in April 2014. Jim Tuttle/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Jim Tuttle/NPR

Tiny Desk Concerts

Yasmine Hamdan

The Lebanese singer-songwriter is one of the most groundbreaking musicians in the Middle East.

Rodrigo y Gabriela in a scene from their new video for the song "The Russian Messenger." Courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of the artist

All Songs TV

Rodrigo y Gabriela, 'The Russian Messenger'

The duo's latest video is a no-frills performance showcasing their phenomenal guitar work.

Sandeep Das, Shane Shanahan, Mark Suter and Joseph Gramley, percussionists in the Silk Road Ensemble, perform at ACME Studio in Brooklyn, New York, for a Field Recordings video shoot. Mito Habe-Evans/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Mito Habe-Evans/NPR

Field Recordings

A Field Recording Bonus Track: The Silk Road Swings

Four talented percussionists create deep grooves out of their Silk Road Ensemble collaboration.

Back To Top