John “Jaja” Bashengezi’s music reflects his journey through life from the Congo to East Africa to America. He’s a guitarist and singer of natural grace who has mastered the sensuous guitar style and mellifluous Lingala vocals of classic Congolese music, but also expanded his music as he has traveled through life. Born in Bukavu in the war-torn eastern Congo, he became a refugee in the 1990s. Fleeing with his guitar, he found work as a studio musician in Kampala, Uganda, encountering the great Congolese singer Samba Mapangala and hooking into the local scene. (All these years later, Bashengezi performs in Mapangala’s U.S. band.) Bashengezi’s odyssey eventually landed him in the vicinity of Washington, DC, where he has made alliances with a number of other African musicians, but also developed the uniquely personal style showcased on this album.