Record Release on April 29, 2022, preorder starting March 13, 2022
Record Release Event on Saturday, May 14, 2022 at AcudMachtNeu, Berlin
How this record was made in Kinshasa, Congo
Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, 2019 – a group of street children gathered around the artist Lova Lova to form the Atelier Kamikazi and record the album «Mokili na poche».
Bernard Morisson, Delta Force, Franc congolais, Dix balle, Ozé, Banque du sang et Banque mondiale are between 10 and 18 years old, they are «shégués», sons of soldiers, orphans or accused of being «child sorcerers». Like 30,000 other children in Kinshasa, they have no stable home and survive despite the violence and contempt of society towards them.
Music is for them a game they are trained in by the artist Lova Lova and his musicians. Creation is also a real way to make their voices heard and to change the way they are viewed. With « Mokili Na Poche » (The World in the Pocket), they talk in a funny and provocative tone about the difficulties encountered in their daily lives, about rivalry, politics, sexuality, and survival. The rhythms are inspired by the urban culture of Kinshasa, marked by the childrens’ sound inventions and carried by Lova Lova’s musical frame made out of electro-congorock, afropunk, ragga, and hip hop. This allowed the kids to spit their warlike rap, street gang style, but also to pray and bless, carried by a specific sharp undertone of rage and hope. These kids know they are fucked – and they fuck back.
The « Mokili Na Poche » project was conceived and produced by Oyo Projects in collaboration with Lova Lova and supported by the Swiss Embassy in Kinshasa. The independent art spaces Bomoko Connexion and Double Vision are also partners, hosting workshops and rehearsals.
How it started to become a record
Berlin, summer 2019 – Lova Lova is part of an exchange and residency program at AcudMachtNeu. One evening, at an event, he plays the album «Mokili na poche» from his mobile phone, attracting instantly great response. Cornelia Lund and Holger Lund, curators of the independent platform fluctuating images, established the contact with Seismographic Records.
More about Seismographic Records
Seismographic Records is a label for global hybrid music, run by Martin Georgi. «Seismo» deals with connections of local and international sounds, of cultures and epochs far apart. It wants to break through the boundaries of Western music history and focus on the unheard. On currents that have so far been excluded from algorithms and streaming services due to their lack of market relevance. This is about the localization of new trend-setting centers in the Global South. In this way «Seismo» wants to make visible the potential of a decolonized music development. Music takes on the function of a seismograph. It is a sensitive instrument to register social transformations.
The focus of the label is on the production of vinyls and their distribution on the global market. The pressing makes the projects materially tangible. The productions are preceded by a close collaboration with artists, researchers, designers, and journalists in order to explore the cultural and historical contexts of musical trends and to make them audiovisually accessible. Texts, graphics, and videos are used to illustrate the background and contextualize the music. Seismographic Records also collaborates with cultural institutions in order to provide a platform for the projects in the form of exhibitions, concerts, radio broadcasts and to anchor them in cultural discourse.
More about OYO PROJECTS
Oyo projects was founded in 2015 by the Mukenge/Schellhammer Duo with the aim of supporting children and young people in street situations by engaging them in artistic activities. Since 2016, the Oyo Projects team has been organizing regular workshops and provides food, first medical care, and accompaniment and follow-up for each child.
In a critical approach to the aid sector in developing countries, the project reinforces informal learning. Instead of imposing Western concepts and solutions, the project wants to create a space for experimentation and exchange to explore new strategies: How to connect local ways of doing things with international concepts by deconstructing post-colonial power structures.
The Oyo project positions itself in the artistic category of social sculpture according to the definition of the «expanded field of art» of the famous German artist Joseph Beuys (1921–1986). For him, «everyone was an artist». He does not mean that everyone is a painter or a sculptor, rather that everyone has creative faculties that must be discerned and cultivated. At the heart of this process is the possibility of self-determination offered to human beings.
More about LOVA LOVA
Since 2016, Wilfried Luzele, aka Lova Lova, has been evolving within the alternative cultural scene of Kinshasa as a musician and performer. His musical style is multiple, including electro-rock, sometimes punk, ragga, and hip hop, and often inspired by traditional Congolese music. His lyrics describe the urban life of Kinshasa with humor and intensity. Sometimes, his words leave reality to fly away to phantasmagorical universes and delirious landscapes.
In 2019 he performed at two major festivals in Kinshasa: Jazzkiff and Africa Music Forum. In 2017 he directed the soundtrack of the web series «Kinshasa Collection». In 2020, Lova Lova moved to France, where he was a laureate of Variation(s), the accompaniment programme of FGO-Barbara (Paris). In the same year, he launched the album «Mutu Wa Ngozi» and performed at the TransMusicales in Rennes. In 2021, he was part of iNOUïS at Printemps de Bourges and played several concerts in festivals in France and Europe. His visual universe as recently featured in the exhibition «Kinshasa Chroniques» (Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine de Paris, 2020-21).
More about the kids
Delta Force and Bernard Morisson
Friends and partners on stage, they are the two eldest members of the group. Inspired by Booba and Kaaris, they experiment with a warlike and provocative rap. In 2018 Bernard became known in the Bandalungwa district of Kinshasa for his duo «Petit Yo» with Lova Lova.
Dix balles (Ten quid)
As a coupé-décalé singer, he practices the urban style called «Décalé», used by Kinshasa big shots to promote their respective gangs. His song «Sani Ya Mbele» compares the Congo to a porcelain plate, precious but ready to break.
Franc congolais (Congolese Franc)
Inspired by Camp Kokolo rappers from an early age on, his talent allows him to brilliantly mix styles, including rap, folk and rock.
Banque du sang et Banque mondiale (Blood Bank and World Bank)
These two inseparable kids have been named by the inhabitants of Bandalungwa, to illustrate their complementarity. The first plays instruments he makes from materials found on the ground, notably a plastic bottle that he claps in his hands, while the second accompanies him on vocals. Their duet is at the origin of the song «Kimpala», which is very representative of the street music practiced by the children of Kinshasa.
The youngest member of the band has taken the habit to recite the same prayer in Kikongo language for important occasions. He recites it again in one of the songs to bless this album.
Oyo Projects – Producer of the project
Swiss Embassy in Kinshasa – providing support for the project
Bomoko Connexion – Independent cultural centre
Double Vision – Independent cultural centre
Studio Pela – Recording studio
fluctuating images, Berlin – providing support for the project
AcudMachtNeu, Berlin – providing support for the project
Seismographic Records – Exclusive release on vinyl
Possibilities for ordering (including sound snippets):
For UK and related countries:
Music by Lova Lova and Atelier Kamikazi
Produced by Oyo projects
Recorded by Studio Pela, Kinshasa
Vinyl Mastering by Calyx, Berlin
Graphic Design by Bureau Now and Viktor Lentzen
Distribution by wordandsound
Supported by Swiss Embassy in Kinshasa, Bomoko Connexion, Double Vision
Executive Production by Martin Georgi
Published by Seismographic Records in cooperation with fluctuating images
Special thanks to Lucille de Witte & Markus Lindner
Thanks goes to AcudMachtNeu (Berlin) and LabKontempo (Kinshasa) as well as to DHBW Ravensburg for supporting the research of Cornelia Lund (HfK Bremen, fluctuating images e.V. Berlin) and Holger Lund (DHBW Ravensburg, fluctuating images e.V. Berlin) in Kinshasa.