Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Daily Email Edition

Get MN Daily NEWS delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday!


Local musician Miloe celebrates Congolese culture during intimate concert, conversation

To wrap up Francophone Month, the young Congo native presented a peek into his life and artistry in partnership with Alliance Française and Cedar Cultural Center.
Image by Emily Urfer
Local Musician Miloe performs at The Cedar Cultural Center on Friday, March 25.

On a chilly Friday night, French-speaking Minnesotans and music fans made themselves known at a unique, culture-rich event.

The evening featured Bobby Kabeya, an indie-pop musician (better known by his alias Miloe) born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 2009, Kabeya moved to Minneapolis where his journalist father was granted asylum from the nation’s political unrest. After that, the now 21-year-old began preparing for his career in music by picking up different instruments and performing with his friends.

Before Kabeya even stepped on stage at The Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis, people were already dancing. Douala Soul Collective, a DJ duo influenced by the Francophone city of Douala, filled the room with African rhythms, zouk and reggae. The tunes made the space feel homelike and welcoming.

Introductions were made in both French and English by two representatives from the Alliance Française Mpls/St. Paul, the Twin Cities’ French cultural organization. This March, the organization selected the French-speaking Democratic Republic of the Congo to be represented locally during Francophone Month. Social and cultural celebrations honoring the nation occurred throughout the month leading up to the final event with Kabeya on March 25.

Local Musician Miloe performs at The Cedar Cultural Center on Friday, March 25. (Emily Urfer)

Kabeya’s performance started as a smooth solo with him, his voice and his electric guitar at the mic. Him and his bandmates displayed a perfected indie-pop look with rolled jeans, colorful guitars and Converse. Kabeya summed it up best: “I dress like an American,” he joked during the Q&A with The Current’s Jay Gabler and Salif Keita of KFAI radio after the concert.

The soft self-titled song “Miloe” was followed by Kabeya’s newest release “where u are,” a groovy melody that begins with pitched vocal layering, which he later explained is meant to be reminiscent of him during different phases of his youth. “where u are,” with its sentimental nature and the family-photo cover art, is just one piece of evidence that shows the importance of family to the artist.

His mom was easy to spot, jumping and dancing with other family in the second row. After exposing him to many of his musical influences and supporting his decision to pursue music, his parents seem to be some of Kabeya’s biggest fans. “I’m thankful [they] let me follow my gut,” he explained.

It must have been written in the stars that Kabeya would become a musician; after all, he was named after Jamaican singer-songwriter Bob Marley.

The seated event quickly shifted to standing, moving and dancing as the crowd started to feel the rhythm of Miloe’s music. Staying out of the seats was necessary for the audience to match the energy of the artist and his accompanying guitarists and drummer. “It’s cold out there, let’s warm up!” Kabeya said in between songs.

“Greenhouse” reinforced the pleasant energy in the room. The guitar-driven song brought the warm Congolese climate to Minneapolis, which was desperately needed after the city was hit with some jarring below-average temperatures. “Winona,” an impossibly catchy tune calling out actress Winona Ryder, continued to drive the evening forward and encourage audience participation.

Kabeya seemed effortlessly comfortable on stage, which might be the result of years of performing and, more recently, opening for large audiences across the country. Last fall, he opened for the popular band Beach Bunny on their extensive North American tour. His next big gigs will be opening for COIN, a pop rock band with over 4 million monthly listeners on Spotify, on the final fourth of their tour.

Although this show was by no means a large-scale production like those Kabeya has experienced before, it was still a special and intimate evening. It was the artist’s first formal event with only him and his band performing, marking an important milestone in his budding music career.

At the end of the performance, the audience cheered for “One more song!” and Kabeya delivered with the lovely and unplanned tune, “Marna.” His band left the stage, leaving him to close out the evening the same way it began — with his voice, his guitar and an eager audience.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Accessibility Toolbar

Comments (0)

All The Minnesota Daily Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *