Afro Fiesta members Mermans Mosengo and Jason Tamba both left the Democratic Republic of the Congo more than fifteen years ago in search of a better life. Mosengo moved to South Africa in 1998, spending a year as a drummer and bassist with the Young Bakuba Band before going solo and eventually meeting Jason Tamba. A self-taught musician who later earned a degree in classical guitar, Tamba also traveled to South Africa in search of greater opportunity, where he soon met Mosengo and formed Afro Fiesta.
From the beginning, Afro Fiesta has embraced a powerful vision: using music to educate and inspire audiences to find solutions both for their native Congo and for all of humanity. Its first album, the self-titled Afro Fiesta, released in 2005, is full of songs that are a fusion of eclectic styles including Afro-jazz, kwasa-kwasa, makossa, and hints of Latin music.
With Afro Fiesta’s latest album Music is My Ammunition, its first recorded with Playing For Change, they have crafted a reggae rumba roots album with music and messages from deep in the heart of Africa. Music is My Ammunition features Detroit bass legend Reggie McBride as well as Jamaican brothers Courtney “Bam” Diedrick on drums and Sean “Pow” Diedrick on keyboards (both perform in Damian Marley’s band). The result is an album that crisscrosses Africa to blend diverse influences of roots reggae, makossa, and Congolese rumba.
Music is My Ammunition is produced by Playing For Change, a movement created to inspire, connect and bring peace to the world through music. As members of the Playing For Change Band since its inception, Afro Fiesta has performed more than 400 concerts in over 25 countries, including being one of the first to perform in Argentina’s DirectTV Arena, a tour in Brazil headlining for an audience of 35,000, and a tour in Australia as the opening act for Robert Plant. The can also be seen in many Playing For Change videos including “The Weight” along with Robbie Robertson and Ringo Starr, “Biko” along with Peter Gabriel, “War/No More Trouble” along with Bono and “One Love” along with Manu Chao. Earning a reputation as innovators, Afro Fiesta has performed at numerous music festivals including Jazz on the Rocks, SXSW Music Festival, OBZ Festival, Light Festival and Africa Day Celebrations.
Learn more about Afro Fiesta in their cover feature with Irie Magazine.