“Don’t do what I’ve already done” Fela Kuti used to say to his artist followers. And this is the advice Fanga has tried to follow since they started up in 1998. Their Afrobeat that marries their political calling, is the fruit of multiple interbreeding, from hip-hop to funk via jazz to Mandinka. Structured around Korbo, their singer, the band is inspired by multiple influences and it is not without reason that their new album is entitled Kaleidoscope.
When they chose their name, which, in Dioula means “strength, energy and power”, Fanga didn’t realise how apt it was. The strength of their convictions is definitely the reason why the collective remains active, with undiminished faith in their music and the messages it conveys. A self-titled EP (2000), Afrokalyptik (2003), Natural Juice (2007), Sira Ba (2009), Afrokaliptyk Nation Live (2011) and Fangnawa Experience (2012) have all marked the band’s career, which today, is off to a new start. Kaleidoscope re-establishes the energy of the early days; less jazzy and more funky, from here on they are blending afrobeat with traditional African music from Togo, Benin, Ethiopia, Niger, Mali, Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso, on top of lyrics which continue to question the notions of justice, freedom and the right to happiness, in a world which is so cruelly lacking in it.
As logic would have it, the album cover is a kaleidoscope in which each element evokes one of its tracks, from the child soldier to the human robot. A collage reflecting our society, where being united makes us stronger, provided that we set the diversity of its components to music. Fanga shows us the way, with Kaleidoscope.