TSHEGUE today release their new EP, ‘Telema,’ which includes Radio 1 & 6Music-supported singles ‘The Wheel’ and ‘M’Benga Bila.’ The follow up release from Congolese singer Faty Sy Savanet and French-Cuban producer Nicolas Dacunha to 2017’s debut ‘Survivor’ EP, ‘Telema’ arrives ahead of an appearance from TSHEGUE at this year’s WOMAD Festival, with further UK dates soon to be announced.
Stream ‘Telema’ in full from here.
The new EP arrives close on the tail of the video for ‘M’Benga Bila,’ a tribute to Leos Carax’s cult 1986 film, ‘Mauvais Sang,’ which TSHEGUE (who count Mura Masa amongst their fans) filmed in the 18th arrondissement’s Goutte D’Or area, one of Paris’ most multicultural neighbourhoods which Faty has also made her home.
Speaking about the track – whose title translates from Faty’s native Lingala language as ‘Call the Police!’ – TSHEGUE say; “It’s a protest, a scream from a society that still struggles to accommodate the differences and the freedoms of all. The threat ‘I’m gonna call the cops!’ for us represents a systematic formula which too often forces the point of rupture between two individuals, the end of a dialogue.”
TSHEGUE take their name from the Congolese slang word for the boys who gather on the streets of Kinshasa – it also became powerhouse front woman Faty Sy Savanet’s childhood nickname, growing up in the country’s music-obsessed capital city (where the official music video for ‘The Wheel’ was also filmed, starring members of the Club Etoile Rollers teenage skate collective).
Having migrated with her family from Kinshasa to Paris aged 8, Faty found her niche when a mutual friend brought her into contact with Robert Wyatt-collaborator, Bertrand Burgalat, whose Tricatel label has been referenced as an influence by Air and Daft Punk. Burgalat enabled formative musical experiments – including a stint in a voodoo n roll band – all of which took a backseat when Faty was introduced to future TSHEGUE bandmate, French-Cuban producer Nicolas ‘Dakou’ Dacunha.
It’s Dakou’s pounding beat patterns that form the thuggish backbone to the band’s distillation of elements spanning afropunk, garage and desert rock, with songwriting which also taps questions around Faty’s own experience of the challenges faced by the African diaspora.
The kinetic energy of ‘Telema’ spills over across the EP – both ‘MBenga Bila’ – featured on the official soundtrack to French cinema release ‘Black Snake’ – and ‘Solola’ harness the offbeat propulsion of loping marching band percussion, pitched against Faty’s near-androgynous vocals. Elsewhere, the trilled guitar loops of ‘Telema’s title track land TSHEGUE somewhere closer to desert rock, dialling back the tempo at the expense of none of their muscular intensity.