Baloji
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Baloji

Band R&B Soul

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Discography

Hotel Impala (2008)
Kinshasa Succursale (2012)

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Bio

Baloji, whose name means "sorcerer” in Swahili, was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1978. At the age of 4, he arrived in Belgium with his father and grew up in Liège. As a young adolescent, he discovered hip-hop, a passion for tagging, rap & dance. At 15 he joined the the Starflam Collective, a figurehead of Belgian hip-hop, who released a platinum selling disc "Survivant" (2001). Baloji decided to leave the group in 2004.

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 the muse of music. His first solo recording, "Hotel Impala" (2008), as much of a response to the letter of his mother as it is a quest to find his identity, is coloured with influences of soul, afrobeat, and hip-hop. A certified Gold Record, the album won two Octaves de la music (a Belgian equivalant to the Grammys) as well as the Rapsat-Lelievre Prize and the Brassens prize for lyric writing.

In 2009, Baljoi left for Kinshasa to work with local musicians. In the course of 6 days, he produced the 14 tracks which make up his second album, Kinshasa Succursale. The album received over 35 four or more star reviews (The Guardian, New York Times, Independent, Télérama, Les Inrockuptibles..), a 150 date tour (USA, Brazil, Africa, Europe) and praise from Nick Cave, Questlove from The Roots, Damon Albarn, Justice and Elvis Costello. He has been part of Damon Albarn’s ‘Africa Express’ collective for the last few years, which has been heralded as “the best live show of the decade”.

Baloji is at once composer, lyricist and producer for his music. He also co-produces, styles and scripts his videos and is personally responsible for website and album cover design. The video of the song Karibu ya Bintou, which was produced in collaboration with DR Films, received numerous prizes including the prize for the best music video at the Festival International du Film Francophone (FIFF) in 2010 and was nominated at the MTV Europe Awards.

Baloji is developing a parallel career as an actor for directors such as Michael Roskam (he features in the Oscar nominated Bullhead), Everaldo Gout, Fabrice Duwelz, Andrew Dosunmu, Felix Van Groeningen, Thomas Vincent and Nigel Thilmon.