Kongo Dia Ntotila’s sound is a blend of Africa’s finest dance music styles, revived, modernised,and seamlessly fused with a neat dose of jazz. The band draw on a breadth of African rhythmic and sonic traditions, with strong influences of Congolese rumba and the sunshine sounds of seben guitar. It is pure Afro-joy: dance-inducing beats, polyrhythmic guitars, grooving bass, soaring brass,and beautiful harmonic vocals.
The band comprises UK jazz players John Kelly (guitar), Will Scott (saxophone) and Mike Soper(trumpet); with Mbouta Kissangwa (drums), Mulele Matondo (bass), and Diala Sakuba (rhythmguitar) all originally from Kinshasa, DRC. They have been described by Tom Robinson as“musicians of the very very highest standard...totally authentic - as good as anything you get coming out of Africa,” while Max Reinhardt has called band leader, Mulele, “a visionary bassist”.The first founding of the band was around 2008/9 in Bradford, West Yorkshire, where Mulele was living while studying at Leeds College of Music.
John turned out to be his jazz guitar tutor, and lessons became musical exchanges as Mulele shared the intricate patterns ofsebene guitar.Together with a Congolese singer, they wrote material towards their first album released in 2012. Seben Steps to Heaven featured Central African dance floor riffs and lively Congolese vocals.Ten years later, now London-based, the band just signed to Pussyfoot records, and have a second album out May 2019.