THE CONGO COWBOYS. EP launch at The Raptor Room.


I don’t get out to live music enough. Being middle aged and short has dampened my enthusiasm for having to squeeze into a spot where I can see, or just having to contend with listening and not seeing somewhere near the back. But I had seen the press release for The Congo Cowboys on Weekend Special and they looked and sounded too much like my cup of tea to miss, so I went last night to The Raptor Room (my first time at a live gig there) to watch this delicious sounding band.

Congo Cowboys Band

The Raptor Room is lovely. It transforms from restaurant to intimate but sexy live music venue really well. I was excited to see the widest range of people there too; a spread of age, colour and gender sat at tables, hung about the bar and stood on the floor waiting for the band.

I found myself right in front when the velvet curtains opened, and the first banjo chords filled the room. It was a good place to be. I stuffed my Pick ‘n Pay fake Uniclo puffy into my bag, slung the bag over my shoulder and hung out with the cool kids, dancing right up against the speakers and loving every sound of this gorgeous mix of Congolese kwassa kwassa, deep country, and classic covers (Jolene and Violent Femmes’ Country Death Song) which surprised and delighted.

Fits the part perfectly

Each band member fits the part perfectly. Magnetic frontman and guitarist Chris Bakalanga charms with his melodic voice and great guitar, and pulls off a funky, stylish country look with his long fur coat and dreads under his Stetson. Bassist Julio Sigauque and banjo player Simon Attwell (from Freshlyground) are sexy support and brilliant musos, flowing naturally into the style and funk of this original but totally accessible sound. Drums are tight and punchy, played by Unity Mzi.

I loved every song, and found myself sweating and wiggling, singing and shaking, even when Jerry from Joburg discovered his girlfriend dancing on stage when he came back from the “Torlet! Fuck Megan! What are you doing? I get back from the torlet and, fuck!” This crowd was the funnest mixed bag, as mixed as the sounds, and I loved it.

What: The Congo Cowboys Cape Town