03 Mwa Bashangwa
When the Network team heard recordings of Mastaki Bafa at the WOMEX world music fair, they were enthralled by the gently rugged voice, the subtle arrangements of classical guitar and the sound of the lokolé drum traditionally used to spread news from village to village. As a contemporary artist, he handles percussion instruments from the various regions of his Congolese homeland with great sensitivity, and creates a bluesy dialogue with a polyphonic female voice choir. Music wove its spell on Mastaki Bafa even as a child growing up in the troubled area of Kiru, with its refugees and civil war. He would make his own musical instruments out of cartons, milk containers, fishing gut and dried gourds. Eventually, he moved to the capital city, Kinshasa, where he learned to play several instruments and devoted himself to a career as a singer-songwriter. In the songs he has recorded exclusively for Network in Kinshasa he sings of forgotten traditional knowledge, dreams of a love untainted by material confusion, laments the victims of senseless civil war, gives hope to the poor and calls on them to build a society founded on freedom. "My music comes deep from the heart of Africa. It speaks to the people who look for peace here and all over the world, without grand words, but with a deep sense of the power of music and poetry against the aberrations of human intelligence." He recently won the highest award at an international competition of "Music for Peace" launched by Sting and others. He dreams of performing in Europe with his ensemble "Global Acoustic Vision".