Lokua Kanza | Maurer Hall, Old Town School of Folk Music | International | Chicago Reader

Lokua Kanza Recommended All Ages Soundboard

When: Wed., May 20, 8:30 p.m. 2009

Though he was born and raised in the Congo and has worked with heavy hitters like Ray Lema and Papa Wemba, not long after settling in Paris in 1984 Lokua Kanza began to internationalize his style. On his own records—including the most recent, Plus Vivant (Emarcy, 2005)—he shifted away from explicitly African rhythms and bubbly soukous guitar, moving instead into soulful singer-songwriter fare. One unfortunate side effect of this transformation is that his music has grown blander and blander. He’s got a terrific voice, and his talents as a performer, producer, and writer have helped him take up a position at the center of France’s world-music industry—his collaborators include everyone from Youssou N’Dour to Natalie Merchant to Gal Costa—but his slickly produced, self-consciously accessible folk-pop tunes just slide right out of my head the moment I stop listening to them. —Peter Margasak

Price: $5 suggested donation

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