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> > > Staff Benda Bilili to perform at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall for DaDaFest International 2014

Congolese band Staff Benda Bilili’s exuberant live shows and extraordinary story have caused a stir across the globe and DaDaFest are pleased to bring them to Liverpool.

Photo of Staff Benda Blili by Guillaume ARICIQUE

The band name translates as “look beyond appearances” - literally: "put forward what is hidden", and Staff Benda Bilili consider themselves the real journalists of Kinshasa; their songs document events relating to their everyday experiences and resonate with the pulse of Congolese rumba, of Cuban swing and, at times, of the Godfather Of Soul himself.

Their performance at DaDaFest International 2014 on 6 December will be a fitting last event in the festival which presents an array of high quality disability and Deaf arts from around the world. It aims to challenge perceptions, ignite debate and celebrate disability culture whilst providing excellent entertainment for all.

Staff Benda Bilili are a group of street musicians who lived and played around the grounds of the zoo in Kinshasa. The band’s music consists of powerful rumba-rooted beats, overlaid with vibrant vocals and extraordinary tin-can guitar solos.

Four disabled singer/guitarists form the core of the band and an all-acoustic rhythm section provides the groove-based backbone, over which teenage prodigy Roger Landu lets rip with inimitable solos on a one-string electric lute.

Ruth Gould, DaDaFest’s Artistic Director said:

‘Since seeing the incredible film ‘Benda Bilili’, we have wanted to bring the band and their sensational live show to Liverpool to be part of DaDaFest. The stories they tell of their lives in the Democratic Republic of Congo are great insights into the stories of disabled people in many countries across the world. I visited DR Congo in December last year and saw work by disabled & Deaf artists deserving an international platform, so I am personally delighted to be able to present Staff Benda Bilili here in Liverpool.’

Michael Eakin, Liverpool Philharmonic’s Chief Executive said:

‘We are delighted to be part of DaDaFest once again. During 2012’s festival, we hosted An Evening with Dame Evelyn Glennie, fresh from her performing to millions in the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Now this show will be one of the first events in the newly re-opened Liverpool Philharmonic Hall following the completion of the first phase of our £13.8 million capital development project,  which includes significant improvements to the accessibility of our Grade II* listed, including lots more seating choice for customers with mobility considerations.          

“Staff Benda Bilili’s music is infectious, the stories they tell, poignant, and their energetic live performances simply inspirational. It is an absolute pleasure to be supporting DaDaFest, and to be able to welcome to Liverpool Philharmonic the truly exceptional and world-class shows that the festival brings to Liverpool.”

Staff Benda Bilili perform at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall on 6 December 2014, 7.30pm
Book online at or telephone 0151 709 3789

DaDaFest International 2014 – Art of the Lived Experiment, happening 8 November 2014 – 11 January 2015. Theme: ‘Art of the Lived Experiment’.
For further info:

Please click on this link to read a review of Staff Benda Bilili performance at Brighton Dome in November 2009