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MDC Live Arts Closes Season with African Hip-Hop Sensation Baloji & L’Orchestre De La Katuba April 25

Baloji & L’orchestre De La Katuba

Baloji & L’orchestre De La Katuba

Miami, April 10, 2014 - Miami Dade College’s(MDC) MDC Live Arts ends its 2013-14 season with a bang by presenting Congolese-Belgian hip-hop phenom Baloji & L’Orchestre De La Katuba as the opening headline act of the Wynwood Life Festival at 8pm, Friday, April 25. At the forefront of redefining African music, Baloji delivers a fresh, new sound – where the lyrical edge of hip-hop’s pioneers meets Congolese rumba and ’60s soul.

Baloji, whose name means "sorcerer” in Swahili, is a fitting name for a man who has transformed himself from one of the most successful MC’s from the French scene into a producer, musician, rapper and all-round musical wizard. From U2’s Bono popping up in his performance at Coachella to his recent performance at New York’s Lincoln Center, Baloji is a global force to be reckoned with. Boundlessly energetic, known for his electrifying performances and his unique uber-suave style, Baloji rhymes in an intensely personal way. Fusing funk and ragga with the urban sounds of his Congo homeland, Baloji has been labeled as one of the most innovative rappers ever to emerge from Africa.

“We can’t wait for Miami to discover Baloji’s rich musical universe.” says Kathryn Garcia, executive director of MDC Live Arts. “He is one of those rare talents that transcend borders and language through the sheer magnetism of his performances.”

Born in Congo, Baloji grew up in Belgium creating a complex identity which has sparked a very rich musical life for him. The album Kinshasa Succursale, which will soon be released worldwide by Crammed Discs, is a riot of pan-African and African diaspora sounds and styles barely contained by the basic idea of an acoustic/electric hip-hop album. Recorded in Kinshasa, it includes collaborations with the finest musicians from Congo, including Konono No1 & Zaïko Langa Langa. The album also contains two remixes, one by UK electronic producer déBruit, and another which features rising Ghanaian-American hip hop artist Blitz the Ambassador. 

Baloji & L’orchestre De La Katuba

  • WHEN: Friday, Apr. 25, 8:00 PM - 12:00 PM
  • WHERE: Wynwood Life Festival NW 6 Avenue, between 22 and 24 Streets
  • COST: Tickets are $25 for general admission and $10 for MDC students with valid identification.

About Baloji

As a young adolescent, Baloji discovered hip-hop, a passion for tagging, rap and dance. At 15 he joined the the Starflam Collective, a figurehead of Belgian hip-hop, who released a platinum selling disc "Survivant" (2001). Baloji quit the group in 2004 after a number of interpersonal disagreements and turned his back on music. It was a letter from his mother, whom he had not seen since 1981, and winning a poetry competition in Paris, that pushed him back to pursue music. His first solo recording, "Hotel Impala" (2008), is as much of a response to the letter of his mother as it is a quest to find his identity.  It is colored with influences of soul, afrobeat, and hip-hop. A certified Gold Record, the album won two Octaves de la music (a Belgian equivalent to the Grammys) as well as the Rapsat-Lelièvre Prize and the Ledocq-Brassens prize for lyric writing.

After the release of "Hotel Impala", Baloji felt an urge to go to the Congo and start a deeper exploration of his roots. When he set out for Kinshasa, his original plan was to collaborate with local musicians and rework the songs from his latest album. The result were so exciting that he ended writing and recording 6 entirely new songs (while the remaining 7 tracks are completely re-recorded and rearranged versions of songs from "Hotel Impala"). The result was the album "Kinshasa Succursale."

Baloji participated in a tribute to the defiant spirit and groove-heavy music of Nigerian firebrand Fela Anikulapo Kuti at Lincoln Center’s Summer Out Of Doors Festival along with other leading African musicians. The project was entitled Red Hot + FELA Live and benefitted the Red Hot organization which raises funds and awareness to end AIDS around the world through pop culture. www.baloji.com

About Wynwood Life

Wynwood Life is a three-day cultural street festival in Miami’s Wynwood Art District.  Taking place April 25 - 27, the festival will bring the art district’s streets to life with over 100 vendors of art, crafts, jewelry and local fare from dozens of restaurants in the area along with live art and music on two stages. For more information about the festival please visit www.wynwoodlife.com.


To learn more about the 2013-14 MDC Live Arts season, visit mdclivearts.org.

About MDC Live Arts

Created in 1990 as Cultura del Lobo, MDC Live Arts has a celebrated history of bringing exceptional national and international performing artists to Miami. Annually, the series offers an eclectic mix of performances, presenting today's most exciting artists while creating meaningful engagement between these artists, the students of MDC, and the community. MDC Live Arts seeks artists from across the globe who push boundaries and honor traditions relevant to Miami’s diverse community.  The series aims to offer audiences opportunities to discover new ideas, perspectives and forms of expression while encouraging dialogue and the desire to know more.

MDC Live Arts receives funding from the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners; the National Endowment for the Arts; the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture; the City of Miami Beach Department of Tourism and Cultural Development, Office of Cultural Affairs, the Miami Beach Mayor and City Commissioners; and John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. This tour is supported in part by the globalFEST Touring Fund:globalFEST.org.

MDC Live Arts Contact: Jenni Person, 305-237-7729, jperson@mdc.edu. 

Media-only contacts:
Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611, jmendiet@mdc.edu, MDC communications director
Tere Estorino Florin, 305-237-3949, testorin@mdc.edu, MDC media relations director
Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710, sue.arrowsmith@mdc.edu, media specialist
Kai Hill, 305-237-3359, khill1@mdc.edu, media specialist
Roxana Romero, 305-237-3366, rromero3@mdc.edu, media specialist




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