The singer combines rap and hip-hop with Congolese rhumba to create a unique contemporary sound, and will be performing tracks from his latest release, the critically acclaimed ‘Kinshasa Succursale’ (on Crammed Discs), which featured an all-star line-up of guest musicians including Amp Fiddler, Konono No1, Royce Mbumba and La Chorale de la Grace, to name but a few.
Baloji, whose name means "sorcerer" in Swahili, was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1978. At the age of 4, he arrived in Belgium with his father and grew up in Liège. As a young adolescent, he discovered hip-hop, a passion for tagging, rap & dance. At 15 he joined the collective Starflam, a Belgian hip-hop crew, who released a platinum selling disc ‘Survivant’ (2001). Baloji quit the group in 2004 and turned his back on music. It was a letter from his mother, whom he had not seen since 1981, and winning a poetry competition in Paris, that pushed him back to pursue the muse of music.
His first solo recording, ‘Hotel Impala’ (2008), as much of a response to the letter from his mother as it was a quest to find his identity, was coloured with influences of soul, Afrobeat, and hip-hop. A certified Gold Record, the album won two Octaves de la music (a Belgian equivalent to the Grammys) as well as the Rapsat-Lelièvre Prize and the Brassens prize for lyric writing.
For his first UK headlining show Baloji will be accompanied by the Katuba Orchestra, led by Dizzy Manjeku, legendary guitarist for Tabu Ley Rochereau and the late Franco.
Support comes from A.J. Holmes & The Hackney Empire. This six-piece from the depths of Hackney are destroying everywhere they play with their unique blend of Afro pop with a home grown British sensibility – they are "the ultimate Afro party disco machine" (Ghetto Bassquake blog).
Baloji + support: AJ Holmes & The Hackney Empire
Wednesday, 28 November 2012
Village Underground, 54 Holywell Lane, Shoreditch, London EC2A 3PQ
Nearest stations: Shoreditch High Street, Old Street, Liverpool Street
Tickets £14 + booking fee from
See Tickets – http://www.seetickets.com/Event/BALOJI/Village-Underground/618417
Ticketmaster – http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/Baloji-tickets/artist/1690212
Ticketweb – http://www.ticketweb.co.uk/event/ysk2811
Presented by ¡Como No! and 2 For the Road Productions
Official website: http://www.baloji.com/
Baloji with Konono N°1 – "Karibu Ya Bintou" (with English subtitles)
Baloji with Royce Mbumba – "Le Jour d’Après / Siku Ya Baadaye (Indépendance cha-cha)" (with English subtitles)
A.J. Holmes & The Hackney Empire – "A13 Trunk Road to the Sea"
First official video with a special appearance from Billy Bragg