Longtime supporters of Oxfam know that there is a lengthy and storied history of music artists working with us to raise money for, and the profile of, our work around the globe. The most recent example of such artistic kindness comes by way of the new album Kinshasa One Two by DRC Music, a collective of producers organized by Damon Albarn (Gorillaz, Blur) and recorded last month in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with contemporary Congolese musicians and local performers.
Profits from the album’s sales will support Oxfam’s work in the DRC, which focuses on improving access to clean water and sanitation as well as promoting human rights and an end to conflict. “Not only will DRC Music shine a light on the incredible musical talent coming out of the country, it will raise much needed funds for Oxfam’s invaluable work here and focus the world’s attention on Congo once again, seeing it as a place of inspiration, creativity and hope,” said Oxfam’s DRC country director Pauline Ballaman.
Albarn, though best known for radio hits with his multi-platinum-selling bands, is also familiar to fans of the loose genre known as “world music” because of his album Mali Music, recorded during a trip to Mali in support of Oxfam in 2000. On this trip to Congo, he enlisted a traveling team of producers consisting of T-E-E-D (Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs), Dan The Automator, Jneiro Jarel, Richard Russell, Actress, Marc Antoine, Alwest, Remi Kabaka, Rodaidh McDonald, and Kwes. The group recorded the sessions using only laptops and iPads.
The result is an album that I like more and more each time I play it. To get a feel for the unique sound, listen to the track “Hallo” (featuring Tout Pouissant Mukalo and Nelly Liyemge):
Kinshasa One Two is available to pre-order now at www.drcmusic.org, with digital delivery on October 3, and a CD and vinyl release on November 7. Take a moment and check out the trailer video for the album below.