By: Tyson Meya
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Kivu - “Kivu” by Tyson Meya speaks to peace, courage, reconciliation, and stability in the eastern part of The Democratic Republic of Congo. That part of the country has become a land of regional war ravaged by invasions and homegrown rebellion that have killed and displaced millions of people due to its richness in natural resources. The lyrics are sung in Swahili by vocalist Miolango Lady E backed by luscious horn lines and mesmerizing percussion. Meya’s work positions itself nicely next to notable artists including Angelique Kidjo, Hugh Masakela, and Tony Allen. Bokoko - Tyson Meya paints a tapestry of honoring our ancestors in “Bokoko.” Bokoko means “ancestors” or “our origins” and Meya’s music honors its origins, takes on an identity of its own and is steeped in authenticity. Hailing from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Meya connected with Color Red’s creative director, Mike Tallman when Tallman’s group Euforquestra traveled there to participate in the Exchange Our World program sponsored by the US Secretary of State. After Euforquestra performed a few songs and participated in a dialogue with the Congolese musicians and audience, they switched places and let Meya’s band take the stage. During the performance, the power went out which paved the way for an extended percussion and horn jam. That spontaneity and fervor is encapsulated in this studio recording of “Bokoko” in Color Red’s first collaboration with Congolese artists.