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Lwela Kasulwe
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Lwela Kasulwe

Some musicians possess a natural talent. Without any musical education, they are able to play instruments, having a natural sense for melody and rhythm. Just like Lwela Kasulwe (1980). In his country of birth, Congo, at a young age, Kasulwe heard music on each corner of the street. Almost by default, he sang along to every note. When he started participating in the church choir, Kasulwe discovered his true passion for music. He picked up the guitar and bass and began performing with different bands in Congo’s capital, Kinshasa. After moving to the Netherlands in 1998, Kasulwe developed himself as a singer-songwriter with an incredible vocal style that can be magically whispering as well as fierce and spicy. On top of that, Kasulwe impresses with an unusual way of guitar playing inspired by string pioneer Jean Bosco Mwenda.

Kasulwe is influenced by Congolese traditional music and by tradi-modern Congolese musicians such as Wendo Kolosoy, Franco Luambo Makiadi, and Zaiko Langa-Langa. But also contemporary artists like Lokua Kanza, Tracy Chapman, and Richard Bona are part of Kasulwe’s musical luggage.

Interestingly, despite his tremendous musical talent, Kasulwe never had the ambition to become a professional musician. Until he realized so many people were in awe of his outstanding vocals and striking guitar skills. He reached the finals of the prestigious Grote Prijs van Nederland and managed to do the same at the SENA Grote Prijs van Rotterdam. After many years of playing for select groups of music lovers, it’s time to reach out to a bigger audience with the June 2016 release of his debut album, Nipe Suluhisho.

On Nipe Suluhisho, Kasulwe blends traditional African sounds with folk, soul, jazz, and funk drawn from his inspiration sources but without sounding like a copy. Kasulwe: “I like to be myself. If we just imitate, you are not original. Everybody is different and that’s what makes it beautiful. A copy is just a copy. What’s real, stays real. I can’t copy Michael Jackson or Richard Bona, but I can be inspired.”

His timeless global songs, written in Swahili and Lingala, touch daily experiences about love, injustice, and social issues of mankind full of emotion. On the album, Kasulwe works with percussionist Udo Demandt, drummer Owen Hart Jr., pianist Erik Ritfeld, and singer Veronica Mendes.

Kasulwe receives praise from his peers. Acclaimed singer-songwriter Ntjam Rosie: “You have a natural gift. It’s beyond beautiful and different.” Renowned pianist Bert van den Brink states: “The power of your music is its authenticity.”

Lwela Kasulwe is a unique creative talent. With his brilliant crossover, he distinguishes himself. Kasulwe moves you with spontaneity, honesty, sensibility, and energy. He captures your heart with the power of love ringing through the messages in his songs.
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