Having previously performed and recorded a lot of African dance music with various Congolese, Zimbabwean and UK bands, Mulele’s debut solo album marks a change in direction towards what he calls conscious music. Affected by war back home, and inspired by outspoken artists before him such as Fela Kuti, Bob Marley and Franklin Boukaka, Mulele’s music philosophy evolved. Now he sings for the people – songs about real life, real problems, real issues: “This album is inspired by a collection of sounds and struggles I have heard around the world
through my life.”
The fruit of nearly two years’ labour, Prophecy features a handful of established artists, and an array of generous musicians based in Jamaica, Congo and the UK. It was recorded and mixed in Leeds and London on a shoestring budget in various home and university studios. Almost entirely acoustic, resourceful percussion (Kinshasa style!) includes a plastic bin liner for shakers, wooden spoon and cooking pots for bell type sounds; while special guests include Diabel Cissokho performing what could well be the first ever recording of seben played on a kora.
Mulele composed, arranged and produced all the music. His expressive guitars dance in conversation, each part woven together with call & response, counterpointing and fresh harmonies. He has an incredibly diverse touch on the instrument, enhanced by a knack for subtly grooving rhythms inspired by the traditional sounds and rhythms of the Twa. A multitude of string, percussion and vocal layers and textures give depth to a sonic tapestry, and there is so much to listen to, you could well get lost in a world of gorgeous sounds.