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World Music Matters

Funk and groove musician Bibi Tanga

Audio 10:02

Paris-based funk and groove musician Bibi Tanga was born in Central African Republic. He talks to RFI about recent political events there and how touring in Africa influenced his latest album 40° of Sunshine.

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Tanga sings two songs in his native Sango language on his new album, Banda a gui koua, about his love of a spicy vegetable dish from back home and Kangoya, a palm wine much appreciated in CAR.

He’s kept close links to his hometown of Bangui and says he wasn’t particularly surprised by the recent coup d’etat.

“When you live in a country where basic human rights are not really respected, anything can happen,” he says.

Now with rebel leader Michel Djotodia elected interim President, Tanga says he and his family are in wait-and-see mode.

“There have been a lot of coups d’etat [over the last 30 years] so the new strongest man comes and takes the country for maybe five or ten years. But we’ll wait and see because maybe he’s gonna do the job.”

Despite the turmoil, Tanga says the African continent is an inspiration. After a two-month tour in 2012, he returned to Paris “full of hope” and ready to record his third album, 40° of Sunshine.

“In Africa, you see the situation. People have difficulties to eat but they still have this fighting spirit, so you cannot be sad when you come back,” he remarks.

Even if the track Can’t Handle This has a darker political message, all the songs have the characteristic driving, electro-inspired groove that’s become the hallmark of Bibi Tanga and his band, The Selenites.

“People in Africa listen to every kind of music,” he adds. “Everything from the Beatles to French chanson, but groove is still the heartbeat of Africa.”

Bibi Tanga’s fourth album is due out later this year and he’s working on a project around the “power trio” of drum, base and guitar, most famously embodied by British band, The Police.

“We’re gonna explore the power of the power trio,” Tanga says enigmatically.

Bibi Tanga is on Myspace

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