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 came 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 newest 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. Afro Fiesta previously contributed to Playing for Change tours and songs, including 2009’s “One Love” and “War/No More Trouble.” 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.
Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo