09/04/2018Akuphone Pays Tribute To Legendary Afropean Boxer And Parisian Underground Musician

What would seem like somewhat of a contradiction, a champion boxer fighting for peace, is essentially the story of Mushapata. Hailing from the city of Bukavu, located in the Democratic Republic of Congo at the border with Burundi, Mushapata Kabangu emigrated to France in the late '70s to pursue a career as a professional boxer. However, confronted with the realities of the sports industry, he eventually became a personal protection agent. As such he escorted many celebrities, including the legendary Bob Marley during the latter's tour of France in 1980.

This encounter proved to be highly inspirational as it led Mushapata to embark on his own musical path and, backed by his band Saba-Saba Fighting, to continue his lifelong struggle for peace through music: "Ignored by the record labels of the time, his first self-produced recordings reveal a rough mix of lo-fi reggae, afrobeat rhythms accompanied by a brass section close to free jazz. The nonchalant sounding voices of Mushapata and Tshayi complete this explosive cocktail and carry, in Swahili language, the Pan-African ideas of Lumumba and other great figures of African-American struggles."

Now considered a legend of the Parisian African reggae underground scene in his own right, French independent label Akuphone just released a limited edition mini-compilation tribute to Mushapata, featuring four tracks off of his first two albums dating back to 1980 and 1984 respectively. You can stream the entire release on the imprint's Bandcamp page or listen to "Muanago Yé-Yé" and "Zambe Aponiyo" via the SoundCloud player above. Don't sleep on this!

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom