I want to travel more, balance it out, make more music, DJ and keep on having fun

Related event

We met up with Belgian DJ Kevin Mambele on a quiet rainy Friday morning for a stroll through CIVA’s most recent exhibition ‘Style Congo. Heritage & Heresy’. From archival and historic material to contemporary artistic interventions, the exhibition records the cultural representation and appropriation of Congo through international exhibitions set in Belgium between 1885 and 1958. 

What did the exhibition evoke in you? What did you think about it?

It was interesting, I wasn't aware that Art Nouveau was so linked to Congo. I really loved the installation in the middle with the pictures and the timeline; that was my favourite. It’s explicitly historical, and it’s nice to see the evolution of the portrayal of Congo in the exhibitions as well as the relationship between Belgium and Congo.

I wasn't aware that Art Nouveau was so linked to Congo

<img class="editorial-image-50-left" src="https://assets-global.website-files.com/61eebcc683107b99137f4423/6439204988de6cb6436be713_differentclassNM2023_Kevin-Mambele_high_37.webp"/>

<img class="editorial-image-50-right" src="https://assets-global.website-files.com/61eebcc683107b99137f4423/6439204816a8b081d32382fc_differentclassNM2023_Kevin-Mambele_high_22.webp"/>

You recently DJed in Congo, how was that? How does it differ from Belgium? 

It was an amazing experience. I played at Amani festival, which is a festival that stands for peace since there’s a war happening in the eastern region of Congo right now. Being there was truly a humbling experience. I also gave DJing workshops and worked together with local DJs. I met musicians, local rappers, and producers. I was really amazed at how they often use the little material they have to make something really good. Here in Belgium, we have this abundance of material, while there it’s quite limited. People still manage to work around it and make proper things. It was also nice to discover new music.

<img class="editorial-image-50-left" src="https://assets-global.website-files.com/61eebcc683107b99137f4423/643924139cb66253a29c6206_differentclassNM2023_Kevin-Mambele_high_36.webp"/>

<img class="editorial-image-50-right" src="https://assets-global.website-files.com/61eebcc683107b99137f4423/6439241318a46332d72062cd_differentclassNM2023_Kevin-Mambele_high_34.webp"/>

Do you take a lot of inspiration from your roots? 

In terms of what inspires me, there are different types of Congolese music I like to use and blend with more modern music. Music is definitely in Congolese blood - it's in our culture. I learned about music from my dad; it's always been in me and it’s part of my heritage. It translates into what I do, but I combine it with a lot of other things that inspire me.

Music is definitely in Congolese blood, it's in our culture, it's always been in me, it’s part of my heritage

<img class="editorial-image-50-left" src="https://assets-global.website-files.com/61eebcc683107b99137f4423/643924131ae4df9d4e83bf93_differentclassNM2023_Kevin-Mambele_high_07.webp"/>

<img class="editorial-image-50-right" src="https://assets-global.website-files.com/61eebcc683107b99137f4423/64392411e5186448954d3ea1_differentclassNM2023_Kevin-Mambele_high_33.webp"/>

The exhibition plays into the debate of cultural appropriation and representation. What is your take on this?

There’s cultural appropriation and there’s appreciation. In my humble opinion, both are two sides of the same coin. People always borrow and are inspired by other things, for example in art or music. This can be something positive but also negative. It depends on the intention and on the outcome. It’s a difficult topic and a grey area. I can see why some people think of it as cultural appropriation, but overall I think it’s part of human history.

<img class="editorial-image-50-left" src="https://assets-global.website-files.com/61eebcc683107b99137f4423/6439241306071e77955626c0_differentclassNM2023_Kevin-Mambele_high_16.webp"/>

<img class="editorial-image-50-right" src="https://assets-global.website-files.com/61eebcc683107b99137f4423/64392413463e6006cedbbf32_differentclassNM2023_Kevin-Mambele_high_40.webp"/>

Tell me a bit about your radio show Bolingo.

Well, bolingo is a Congolese word. It comes from Lingala and it means ‘love’. The goal of the radio show is to expose different kinds of music to different kinds of people. It’s about love for music, and that’s why I really like inviting different DJs and why I love to play and mix different styles of music. it’s not supposed to only be Congolese music, though; it's supposed to be a bit of everything. Some electronic music, maybe some jazz, or even something more acoustic. I think that’s important: on the radio, you often hear the same stuff over and over. I think that with music you can learn, you can really expose yourself to new cultures and new ideas and expand your mind as a person. That’s really the goal of the show, to get people to discover new music.

I think that with music you can learn, you can really expose yourself to new cultures, new ideas and expand your mind as a person

<img class="editorial-image-50-left" src="https://assets-global.website-files.com/61eebcc683107b99137f4423/643924168e0082006b245b61_differentclassNM2023_Kevin-Mambele_high_52.webp"/>

<img class="editorial-image-50-right" src="https://assets-global.website-files.com/61eebcc683107b99137f4423/643e4a12fc175b0c2fa0e022_differentclassNM2023_Kevin-Mambele_high_51.webp"/>

To close it off, what are your goals for the next few years? What’s in store for you? 

Well, for sure more music. The last time I released a song was a year ago; it’s called ‘amor fati’ and it does have a lot of Congolese influence. I want to release more music and focus on organising more parties. I recently had a party for my radio show Bolingo at BRUZZ and I’ll be doing another one soon. I’ll be at the Woodpecker again on April 16. I also want to travel more. This year was the first time I really had the opportunity and the luck to travel this much. I went to the eastern part of Congo as I said and more recently to Bologna. I want to travel more, balance it out, make more music, DJ and keep on having fun.

<img class="editorial-image-50-left" src="https://assets-global.website-files.com/61eebcc683107b99137f4423/643930d60d0f15e6bda7f8fd_differentclassNM2023_Kevin-Mambele_high_19.webp"/>

<img class="editorial-image-50-right" src="https://assets-global.website-files.com/61eebcc683107b99137f4423/643930d716a8b06d982490ea_differentclassNM2023_Kevin-Mambele_high_21.webp"/>

<iframe width="100%" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/eBOIphw6acI" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; web-share" allowfullscreen></iframe>

<div class="editorial-banner"> <div class=“editorial-credits”> @mambele.sounds</div></div>

Different Class works with the interest of their community at heart.
Our work’s purpose is to foster a solid network for independent artists, those who love them, and those who want to support them. Become a member to contribute to the local Belgian art scene.

Our membership plans

The dedicated package for 1 month
Access to all events
Discounts in our shop and in other stores
Our magazine every 2 months
The basics for 1 year
total of 95,4 billed once a year
Access to all events
Discounts in our shop and in other stores
The full experience for 1 year
total of 107,4 billed once a year
Access to all events
Discounts in our shop and in other stores
Our magazine every 2 months
A Different Class totebag
Are you a student? You're in luck, we offer the perks of our devoted membership at a reduced price!  
All prices are in Euro (€), tax included — renews automatically, cancel anytime

Name Member