Gasandji – lead vocals, guitar
Macodou Ndiaye – percussions, backing vocals
Abdoulaye Kouyate – guitar, backing vocals
Marine Thibault – flute
Her name means ‘the one who unveils the conscience’. And that's indeed what she does with her glamorous voice and her filigree songs that stylistically has no fixed address: the traditions of her home melt together with soul, pop, reggae and a bit of jazz to an urban style that don’t deny its origin.
Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in an enginier’s family that significant time live abroad and favour academic studies, Gasandji, a dreamy and imaginative child, is sent to boarding school in France at the age of 14. She soon starts getting into the arts, in particular hip hop dancing. With an enterprising spirit, she sets up her own dance troupe ‘Hip Hop Attitude’ in the 90s. At the turn of 2000, her musical ambitions surface.
“My first instrument is my body. My music speaks to the heart but passes first and foremost via the feet,” says the singer.
Whether singing in Lingala, French or English, Gasandji is an artist who touches her audience whole-heartedly. Her haunting, magical voice has been heard at a number of great festivals including WOMAD (England), Cully Jazz Festival (Switzerland) and Afrika Festival Wuerzburg (Germany), where she received the Afrika Festival Award 2014.
Each time she comes on stage, Gasandji immediately exudes a sense of class, empathy and finesse. Being likened to Tracy Chapman and Rokia Traore might be partially applicable, but ultimately these are lazy comparisons: Gasandji is her own woman and she's got plenty to say. Gasandji is a voice, a style and a spirit.
At her side: drums embellished with African percussions, an acoustic guitar and flute... and only on Festival Porta stage also Jānis Šipkēvics, who has already met Gasandji in Paris where they immersed in creating musical arrangements for the new TV project Soundbound.