Shiko Mawata

Kimbanda Nzila | iMak
By BEN WESTHOFF  |  March 12, 2008
3.0 3.0 Stars
Featuring Congolese rumba tinged with Afro-Cuban rhythms, Shiko Mawatu’s debut CD is compelling enough to transcend the oft-dubious distinction of “world music.” Mawatu was raised in the Democratic Republic of Congo; he was influenced by soukous music pioneer Dr. Nico Kasanda Wa Mikalayi and wrote songs for the late African pop star Madilu System. Having recently come to America, he now resides in Staten Island. Although his songs, which tend to be seven or eight minutes long, are sung in Lingala, they transcend language, especially “Dani Mamani,” the synth-accented standout. Kimbanda Nzila can drift into the kind of pandering to Western tastes that Buena Vista Social Club was accused of, but for the most part Mawatu’s nimble guitar and his arrangements create a world-music album for people who don’t like world music. A well-produced, fairly hilarious DVD of music videos is included.
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