I found out about Staff Benda Bilili while seeking out more music like Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars, another excellent African band everyone needs to know. Both were featured in acclaimed documentaries (SBB and SLRAS) that tell of their hardships and the transformational power of music.
Staff Benda Bilili (translation: look beyond appearances) is a unique collection. Four older, paraplegic Congolese men — victims of polio — and a couple of younger street kids create songs about dignity, hope and respect. In a lot of ways, they're not unlike most bands. The documentary's director sums up the group as "a bunch of rockers. They love women. They love whiskey. They love weed. They play amazing music."
What else?• The group's new album is set for a Sept. 4 release date. And judging by the album's art work and title — "Bouger Le Monde!" (Move the World) — the band is ready to do big things this year.
• Big things, such as a multi-date world tour with several U.S. stops.