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Juanita Euka, Afro‑Latin as ever on her debut Mabanzo

The singer, who has lived in Argentina and the UK, has announced a new album in true Congolese style with “Nalingi Mobali Te”, strongly inspired by DRC “sapeurs”. 

Juanita Euka’s new song, blending Congolese guitar with Afrobeat horns, is a killer dancefloor single. The lingala lyrics evoke breakup, cheating, and everything hurtful about love relationships, while the video sees her more empowered than ever, dancing in recognizables DRC “sapeur” outfits. 

Originally from DR Congo and brought up in Buenos Aires, the singer’s upbringing involved many different musical influences, not least her uncle, Congolese rumba giant Franco Luambo Makiadi. “In Argentina, I listened to a wide range of styles from African-American artists to Dominican stars like Juan Luis Guerra, the Congolese greats like my uncle and Papa Wemba and various artists from Argentina including Mercedes Sosa”, she says. Exotic Other, her 2018 joint project with Animanz, and her accomplishments alongside Afro-Peruvian band Malambo, London Afrobeat Collective and Cuban group Wara were all results of her multicultural past, and her dynamic present in cosmopolitan London. 

Her debut album Mabanzo, to be released via Strut Records, will once again blend the singer’s varied musical influences, alternating between 80s boogie, Afro-Cuban music, romantic ballads and rumba influences. “I have always written songs and poems since I was young,” reflects Euka. “I have tried to bring all of the musical heritage that I have experienced into my album.” The different songs will see her address personal struggle, calls for freedom and championing love over materialism, diving deep in her “thoughts” (the translation of the album’s title). 

Mabanzo by Juanita Euka, out on March 25 via Strut Records. 

Listen to “Nalingi Mobali Te” in our Songs of the Week playlist on Spotify and Deezer.