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Staff Benda Bilili

Tuesday 10th November, 2009

group shot of the band Staff Benda Bilili

Staff Benda Bilili were just fab on the 11th November - for those of us who came, we gyrated in our seats and out of them, much to the horror of the stewards.

Staff Benda Bilili are from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and journalist, Andy Morgan, describes their story:

"Their story is about polio-ravaged limbs and survival in the toxic atmosphere of Kinshasa, one of the largest and most dysfunctional cities in Africa. It's about homelessness, ostracism, community, courage and music. Most of all, it's about a refusal to pity oneself. Papa Ricky and Coco Ngambali, the group's founders, decided long ago that disability only exists in the mind. They've clung tenaciously to this guiding principle, through years of grinding anonymity and busking for centimes outside fancy restaurants in Kinshasa's downtown or hawking chewing gum and cigarettes on exhausted roundabouts.”

Want to find out more about them?

MYSPACE - www.myspace.com/staffbendabilili INTERVIEW - www.guardian.co.uk/music/2009/nov/01/staff-benda-bilili-congo-interview VIDEO - www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtVZhaZp6Ng

If you want to find out more about the Oxford gig or book tickets,

Contact Sarah Mayhew, Oxford Contemporary Music T. 01865 488 369; M. 07940 287 967; sarah.mayhew.ocm@googlemail.com; W. www.ocmevents.org