Mulele Matondo

Award: MOBO Help Musicians Fund

Year: 2020

Genre: World

Instrument/voice type: Songwriter

Location: London


Mulele Matondo is an accomplished guitarist, bass player, composer and arranger, heavily influenced by the rich sounds and rhythms of his homeland. He grew up on a foundation of some of the greatest artists ever to come out of Africa, (including legendary Franco and Dr Nico).

As a kid, music was everywhere - from the streets to the conservatoires and Mulele attended both schools. The day he climbed a fence to see Kassav perform in Kinshasa was the moment he knew he wanted to be a band leader and learn bass guitar, just like the founder of Kassav!

Mulele found success early in his career performing with popular Congolese acts of the 90s/00s: Nouvelle Generation de Lidjo Kwempa (of the Papa Wemba clan), Real Sounds of Africa, Diamond Musica, Lubumbashi Stars and New Stars Musica. He established himself in Zimbabwe as a performer, writer and arranger with a flair for his home grown Congolese style still extremely popular there today. He learned Zambian and Zimbabwean styles playing with greats like Chris Chali and Ernest Sando, and picked up other African styles touring the rest of the continent.

His early 20s saw him grow up and get political listening to Fela Kuti, Bob Marley and Franklin Boukaka, which brought a new direction to his songwriting. Mulele came to the UK around that time, starting at Leeds College on a jazz guitar foundation course, then moving to SOAS for a BA in Music. Playing bass and guitar, in studio and on stage for a range of jazz, pop, hip hop and world music artists from Leeds to London, he has been cementing his reputation as “a versatile new artist” (Songlines magazine), with BBC Radio 3 DJ Max Reinhardt calling him “a visionary guitarist and bassist”.

In 2012, Mulele released a solo album, and an album with his afro-jazz band Kongo Dia Ntotila. Their 2019 follow up release ‘360°’ received rave reviews from music press to radio broadcasters: MOJO magazine - “A euphoric joy ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️”; Tom Robinson (BBC 6 Music) “totally authentic - as good as anything you get coming out of Africa”; and Cerys Matthews “incredible musicianship”.

Latest releases include jazz album ‘One’ with Dominic J. Marshall (Cinematic Orchestra) on keys and Sam Gardner (Samadhi, Septabeat) on drums under the name Devils of Moko; and a collaboration project with sound artist Ben Eyes called Electroni-Kongo.
With support from The MOBO Help Musicians Fund I will mix, master, and market a second solo album.