From Kinshasa

Mbongwana Star - From Kinshasa
Critic Score
Based on 11 reviews
2015 Ratings: #6 / 984
User Score
Based on 130 ratings
2015 Ratings: #109
Liked by 1 person
May 19, 2015 / Release Date
LP / Format
Nonesuch / Label
- / Genres
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Drowned in Sound
With their debut Mbongwana Star have made a really classic record for the ages, and what’s more, one that could shape a whole lot of music to come.
The Guardian
Listening to it feels like arriving in a bustling, unfamiliar city, a very long way from home: a gripping mix of excitement, apprehension and sensory overload.
The result is an album that both draws from the rich musical traditions in Kinshasa and beyond, but also sounds unlike anything else from the region to have reached an international audience.
At its very best (see the dirty groove of ‘Kala’) this joyous carnival of sound is underpinned with a throbbing electronic heartbeat. It may be titled ‘From Kinshasa’, but this record could easily be from the future.

Soukous licks dart between digital fuzz, Cubain Kabeya’s drum kit shoves aside synth riffs, warped guitar hooks edge against rumba choruses, and white noize smudges all.

The Line of Best Fit

From Kinshasa is a distorted transmission of a sound of a city, but it's not the neatly paved, orderly and predominantly functioning type of town most of us are used to.

Mbongwana Star might've been a loss to some but this new incarnation of Ngambali and Nzonza's muse confidently steps outside the sometimes rather cozy confines of 'world' music and into the 21st Century.

The fact that this has been a high-praised album in the last months has much more to do with the foreign-cultural aspect than with its true artistic value. Although this album shows some weird, spooky sounding songs, the obscure african band insists in keeping things overly repetitive along the disc's runtime, not rarely sounding amateurish in their own displays. In fact it is understandable that From Kinshasa has received so much attention: their aesthetics (not just sonically) are really ... read more


Very entertaining album with instrumentals ranging from traditional guitar and hand drums to more modern electronic.


Very good! Best surprise of the year so far for me.


Very entertaining album with instrumentals ranging from traditional guitar and hand drums to more modern electronic.


Musically, this is a very cool album. There are a lot of interesting things happening, but I did not understand a single word.

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patton, thisisabtlgrnd, erik, domvic
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Track List

  1. From Kinshasa to the moon
  2. Shégué
  3. Nganshé
  4. Masobélé
  5. Coco Blues
  6. Malukayi (feat. Konono N°1)
  7. Suzanna
  8. Kimpala Pala
  9. Kala
  10. 1 million c'est quoi?
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Added on: May 14, 2015