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Kikento, the power of women by Les Mamans du Congo

Kikento, or “female power” in Lari, marks the long-awaited return of the Mamans du Congo. Available on March 3, this EP once again brings together the Brazzaville-based group and French beatmaker Rrobin.

Carried by the charisma of the singer Gladys Samba and the electronic productions of French beatmaker Rrobin, Les Mamans du Congo are back with a new EP. In the line of the eponymous opus, which revealed the group in 2020, Kikento is a manifesto for the emancipation of Congolese women. To the tempo of a bass married to the dreamy notes of percussion, at the crossroads between rhythms of the province of Central Kongo, rap and Afrobeats, the Moms sing of liberation, independence, modernity, and traditions. While waiting for the release of the project on March 3rd, followed by a tour, two tracks are available to hear now.

“Ntima”, the heart in Lari, could have easily been included on the group’s first album. The sweetness of Gladys Samba’s voice, sublimated by the chorus, is soothing, worthy of one of those Lari lullabies passed down from mother to daughter. Yet the subject matter is deeply sad. “At the very beginning of our relationship, I told you that I had difficulty living with my infertility. In spite of this, I raised the children from your first marriage with love. Today I’m paying the price!” laments the artist from Makélékélé to a fictitious husband. Her heart is “full of blood“, heavy. Sterility remains a taboo subject and is frowned upon in Congolese society, and women often suffer the consequences in their homes. The refrain is then a cry from the heart, whose structure in question-response resumes that of nursery rhymes or games of hide-and-seek.

The second single, “Sala Sala”, is much more dynamic. On a production that oscillates between house and frenetic funk at 130 BPM, the Moms call for effort and work. “Let’s not blame kundu (witchcraft) but let’s stop laziness by putting the emphasis on work. All the trades are concerned by this call, the least effort is decried. It is about sensitization: let the one who lets himself go not accuse others of being bad because they do not take care of him. Sala mbo wa dia (to eat, you must work)“. With this new EP Kikento, Les Mamans du Congo offer an alternative vision of the future of the country and the continent, in which women have the power and the will to change their destiny.

Listen to “Sala Sala” in our playlist “Songs of the Week