The life story of Kiala Nzavotunga reads like an adventure novel. Kiala grew up in Mobutu's Kinshasa and even though his father was an accordionist, he was drawn to the likembe and the guitar. After a period playing with local cover bands, he ended up in the backing band of Joseph 'Le Grand Kallé' Kabasele, generally regarded as the father of modern Congolese music. As Mobutu's repressive regime kept on imposing ever more limits on musicians, in the early 1970s Kiala decided to leave his homeland, eventually ending up flat broke in Nigeria. Determined to meet his idol Fela Kuti, Kiala even sells his shoes to pay the bus fare to Lagos. He succeeds in his mission and even manages to deprive Fela of 50 niara, a small fortune at the time. Kiala would spend the next few years playing with Nigerian Afro-rock bands like Eyes Of Man, Aktion Funk Ensemble, Black Children and The Stompers, finally joining Fela's Egypt 80 in 1981. He still played on Fela's 'Original Sufferhead' album, but then ran into French duo Stéphane Blaes and Romain Puget and decides to accompany them to Paris, where, together with Egypt 80 drummer Ringo Avom and percussionist Udoh Essiet, they formed the very first European afrobeat band: Ghetto Blaster. In Paris Kiala fel in love with a Japanese woman who would later become his wife, and moved to Japan where he founded, among others, One Love Connection, focusing on Congolese zebola. Back in France, Kiala recorded the solo album 'One Race' in 2009, for which he collaborated with Cameroonian bass player Hilaire Penda and Franco-German drummer Cyril Atef, who now also signed on for this new Kiala & The Afroblaster project. Of course Kiala learned the trade from the master himself, so on 'Money' Fela Kuti can't be completely absent; on the contrary, with 'Sorrow Tears And Blood' Kiala & The Afroblaster recorded a successful afrobeat-disco version of Fela's eponymous hit, and closing track 'Fela in Lagos' is a direct homage to the king of afrobeat. Kiala's singing style leans towards parlando as he considers his lyrics at least as important as the music: "Being an African, like it or not, you have to have it politically, ideologically inside. That's afrobeat. It's like reggae: reggae is time to preach. Not in a bad way, but about the things you see.". On 'Money', Kiala, among other things, takes a stand against the hypocritical attitude of the West towards African migrants when in the past they liked nothing more than to use African labour on their plantations and in their colonies ('They Use Us'), and in 'Passport Problem' he rightfully questions why one passport is apparently worth more than another. Nice groovy political afrobeat album, just the way Fela would have liked it!