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Country Congo Genres funk hiphop roots urban Website Festival Sauti za Busara 2012 Recordings
All singing, all dancing, hiphop-ing bottle player Freddy Massamba returns to Zanzibar with his own line-up. Deeply grounded in his Central African roots, his music is a smooth blend of soul, hiphop and funk. Having enjoyed an 11 year career in Europe he has accompanied a varied array of prolific performers including Zap Mama, Tambours de Brazza, Manou Gallo and Didier Awadi (playing Sauti za Busara 2007).
Born in Pointe-Noire, the second largest city of Congo sitting on the coast of the Atlantic, Fredy grew up singing and dancing. Finding the hiphop bug spreading the globe in the late 1980s, Fredy found a space popping and locking in the capital Brazzaville. In 1998 the unstable situation in his home country forced him to relocate and he has been based in Brussels ever since.
Like many African musicians residing in the diaspora, Massamba’s music could not help but be enriched by the multitude of emotions and new influences experienced in the process of being estranged from a homeland. The result in this case is a refreshing, soulful sound that is hiphop inseparable from Central Africa.
Vocal improvisation is at the heart of Fredy’s stage performances and approach to writing music. His debut solo album Ethnophony, was a long time coming and was four years in the making. Massamba first started recording his own material at the notorious Sankara Studio in Dakar, Senegal - a centre of African hiphop creativity in the region. It was here that he met Fred Hirschy, the bassist in his current line-up, where together they developed the album. This processes started humbly from spontaneous vocal improvisations, some pauses whilst on worldwide tour with Awadi, returning to finalize the musical arrangements. He sings about his country, the 1998 war which forced him into exile, hope for the future, the pride and the creative Congolese life-force than runs though him.
Whether singing lyrics in French, Kikongo, Lingala or Swahili, on stage his talent as a vocal artist (in the broadest sense of the word) commands your attention. With a soulful, full bodied tone, he adds cheeky beatbox moments and on tracks like “Ntoto” becomes a flutist playing into fanta bottles. His boundless energy, vocal dexterity and long standing musical friendships with Yoann Julliard on drums, Frédéric Hirschy on bass and Jean Ferrarini on keys makes for a tight live show. Tenderly soulful, grounded in hiphop, Fredy Massamba is pushing the African hiphop genre bracket to melodious new frontiers.With thanks to Skinfama