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Toyebi Te

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Album Review

Not a million miles from Geoffrey Oryema, Lokua Kanza, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, has a lilting, pan-African style. He might not show the roots of his homeland, but this is ineffably an African record — largely acoustic, melodic, and carried by Kanza's gentle voice. The record works best, perhaps surprisingly, when he doesn't sing in English — in large part because the English lyrics are execrable ("Good Bye" being a prime example). He does veer into smooth jazz/R&B territory at times, which really doesn't serve him well; there's more to him than that, and the glibness has very little of the depth he manages elsewhere. He's really at his best when the sound is stripped-down, really allowing him to shine because his mellifluous voice is unmistakably the star of the show. Kanza has a future, that's beyond doubt. On the basis of this record, he'll never be a major name, but still one worth hearing across the years.

Biography

Born: April, 1958 in Bukavu, Kivu, Zaire

Genre: World

Years Active: '00s

Pascal Lokua Kanza was born in Zaire, the first of eight children. After his father died tragically while captaining a ship at sea, Kanza helped provide for his family by taking part-time jobs while he was still in school. Setting aside a few hours each day to teach himself guitar, he soon began playing with friends in local bands. As he got older, his approach to music grew more serious. After studying at the Kinshasa Music Conservatory and performing with Abeti in Zaire, Kanza moved to the Ivory...
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Toyebi Te, Lokua Kanza
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