Mopaya Sango Yango

Does African music from the Rock sound far-fetched? Not anymore. Mopaya is an eight-piece ensemble band made up of four Africans and four Newfoundlanders. If multiculturalism had a sound, this might be it. Mopaya blends Congolese soukous dance music with a reggae undertone. Their debut album is not for wallflowers as the music goes right into the body. Lead singer/songwriter Jeik Kalunga Loksa clearly knows what he’s doing as he had a previously successful career in a Kenyan pop group, but hard times led him to a Tanzanian refugee camp. Four years ago, he came to St. John’s with his family and met local musician Curtis Andrews, and Mopaya was formed. With lyrics in English, French, Lingala, Vundu and Swahili, you get lots of fresh cadence. "Mosembo" features some speedy keyboard work and "Basala" offers a touch of house as it shakes a drum beat to pure transcendence. The groove is so good that the vocals are almost distracting at times. Almost. (Atlantic Canadian)