The Master of Thunder delivers a relentless lesson of truth in Bokonzi, his new EP out February 3rd via Blue Line Records and PIAS.
In the streets of Bandalungwa, Kinshasa, Wilfried Luzele cries out the misery of a forgotten youth. Kin La Belle sometimes bears its name badly. The city is the scene of many tragedies, and the man now called Lova Lova has long played one of the supporting roles. Armed with his hoarse voice, carried by sounds the antithesis of the rumba that rocks the country, he transforms the misery from which he has emerged into a saving force. “The power of my music is to transform past moods from negative to positive, to involve my ancestors and also to transmit the truth, in contradiction to lies, to make the living discover immaterial things” explains the singer. A sometimes convoluted philosopher and a true original, he uses sounds and words to shed light on destinies of a dark banality. This is his power, in other words Bokonzi, the title of his new EP.
In this project, preceded by the revealing 6-title Mutu Wa Ngozi (“The Man Who Appears in Dreams”), Lova Lova once again becomes “the instrument of the music and the guardian of the languages he persists in using to preserve them from oblivion”. He expresses his ideas and pain in Lingala, Tshiluba, Kikongo and French, in a “mixture of traditional music, rock, soukous (dancing ndombolo), hip-hop and Afro-punk.” The fact is that his creativity saved him, in the troubled days when he fled his home to join the faceless crowd of street children, the infamous “shégués”. He found a new path and even a way out in clothing (or sapology) and the “Japanese sappers”. “Sape is the activity I chose when I went out to live on the street. It was the only door I could use to learn the movements, the body expressions and the art of the public. With my costumes, in another way, I remain a sapper and sapping is in me as an art “.
Today, the sape is one of the key elements of his stunning visuals, as illustrated by the visuals of the single “Mambu”. Stylish, subversive and unleashed, the sappers stroll through the streets of Bandal and contrast with the disarray and misery of young people left to their own demise and drugs. Lova Lova challenges the audience: “you see the children who sleep in the streets, who don’t go to school… and those who go to school but don’t eat, fuck!” Acting as a middle man, a messenger, Lova Lova is also dressed up, but the attire is different. The armour he wears is made of electrical wires, calculators, hard drives and other junk. He almost looks like a superhero. In the style of other Congolese artists and collectives such as Fulu Miziki, Lova Lova is leading a “garbage revolution”. Used as instruments or as outfits, the waste that pollutes the city’s streets finds a second life in the clever mind of this protest artist.
The opus Bokonzi is a cry of the heart and of anger. Lova Lova does not want this life anymore, neither for himself nor for the others, and the path towards a better future starts by looking reality in the face, and denouncing the evils that eat away at Kinshasa. The title “Bana Mabe” makes the diagnosis: it is not a fatality but a societal problem, that Lova Lova had to address. “I see myself as the voice of all those people who are what I was at the time. It is a way for me to help them and to denounce the hypocrisy of those who point fingers at them. Because they are either worse than them, but behind the scenes, or these are the very people who create the atmosphere for it to continue, who benefit from it in one way or another. So with my not-so-catholic words, I present the facts.” Lova Lova is the storyteller of the misery of his streets.
Bokonzi out February 3rd via Blue Line Records and PIAS