30/03/2023Brazzaville's Les Mamans Du Congo & French Producer Rrobin Return With Powerful Four-Tracker

Released at the tail end of 2020 was the remarkable self-titled, afro-futurist debut album by French electronic producer Rrobin and Brazzaville's afro-feminist collective Les Mamans du Congo, led by the charismatic chanteuse and percussionist Gladys Samba. The nine-track longplayer absolutely blew our minds and remains one of our personal favourite examples of transcultural collaboration done well. Combining 'age-old Bantu lullabies performed on common household utensils and recycled material with state-of-the-art electronic instrumentation rooted in hiphop,' Les Mamans du Congo and Rrobin succeeded not only in garnering widespread global acclaim, but, more importantly, in forging their own narrative while 'shining a light on everyday predicaments of the Congolese woman.'

A few weeks back, after having dropped a handful of choice remixes in 2022, Les Mamans du Congo and Rrobin made a triumphant return with an equally puissant four-track EP. Heralding the arrival of a follow-up full-length later this year, "Kikento" (which translates to 'female power' in Lari) is yet another dominant offering brought forth "with the aim of preserving and aligning Congolese heritage from woman's perspective." Striving both to entertain and educate, flanked by an innovative and simply irresistible fusion of electronic beats and traditional Bantu rhythms, "Kikento" is a more than welcome annex to the group's glorious 2020 debut.

Opener "Ntima" has that soothing, ebb and flow lullaby feel to it that we came to love on their first offering. "Dia" in its essence is contemporary hiphop with a call and response chorus that would be sure to catch some bodies on the omnipresent US rap circuit if it chose to. "Sala Sala" is the EP's pulsating centrepiece, a worker's anthem of sorts, urging to "eradicate the suffering linked to a lack of women's employment, [reconnect] with ancestral work and to cultivate lands whose resources [continue to be] exploited by foreign multinationals." And, bringing the EP to a close, we have "Maria", a catchy sing-along tune with a hopeful, yearning vibe to it that should keep us afloat until that second album lands.

Stream the full EP and watch the impressive companion video to “Sala Sala” below.

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom