Lwela Kasulwe

Some musicians posses a natural talent. Without any musical education they are able to play instruments, having a natural sense for melody and rhythm. Just like Kadogo 1er (Lwela Kasulwe). In his country of birth Congo, at a young age, Kadogo 1er 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, Kadogo 1er discovered his true passion for music. He picked up guitar and bass and began performing with different bands in Congo’s capital Kinshasa. 

After moving to The Netherlands in 1998 Kadogo 1er developed himself as a singer-songwriter with an incredible vocal style that can be magically whispering as well as fierce and spicy.  

Kadogo 1er is influenced by Congolese traditional music and rhythms which he uses to create his own style of music, infused with soul, funk and jazz.  Kadogo 1er impresses with an unusual way of guitar playing inspired by string pioneer Jean Bosco Mwenda. But also contemporary singer/songwriters like Tracy Chapman are part of Kadogo 1er ’s musical luggage. 

Interestingly, despite his tremendous musical talent, Kadogo 1er  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 de 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 Kadogo 1er  blends traditional African sounds with folk, soul, jazz and funk drawn from his inspiration sources but without sounding like a copy. Kadogo 1er: “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 Jean Bosco Mwenda, but I can be inspired.“ 

His timeless global songs, written in Swahili and Lingala, touch daily experiences about love, injustice, social issues of mankind full of emotion. 

Kadogo 1er receives praise by 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.” Kadogo 1er is a unique creative talent. With his brilliant crossover he distinguishes himself. Kadogo 1er moves you with spontaneity, honesty, sensibility and energy. He captures your heart with the power of love ringing through the messages in his songs.