Batila Ange da Costa was born in 1979, raised between Berlin and London as the first born child to a set of Congolese and Angolan parents. He would be blessed with four more siblings and much later in life develop into BATILA.
The family relocated from Angola to Germany in 1985. Ange attended the last year of Kindergarden in a small town named Willebadessen in the Region of Ostwestfalen-Lippe. Many people in that small German village have never seen black people before and Ange had to fight a lot for himself, his siblings and against ignorance and racism. He had to do twice as good as his peers in order to not have fingers pointed at him and his family. Dating as a teenager was a nightmare but the love of his family kept him safe, kept him away from destructive patterns of teenage hood like drugs, parties and alcohol.
He started writing poems at the tender age of 10 developed a strong love bond with music from a time in which his father used to travel to Belgium and brought back vinyls from the latest releases of Congolese Urban Music. Batila was always the first to unwrap the Vinyls and listen to the songs. He was in love with the poetry, the distinctive singing of Black Voices and the typical Congolese songwriting style, in which, for example, it is often written from the perspective of the woman or socio-political themes are cleverly wrapped up in love stories. Bands like Viva la Musica by Papa Wemba, Victoria Elysion by Kester Emenya, Choc Stars, T.P Ok Jazz by Franco Luambo Makiadi and the compositions of Simaro Lutumba or Koffi Olomide were his favorites. Other significant sonic influences were lucky Dube, Peter Tosh, Bob Marley Tina Turner, Billy Ocean Lisa Stanfield, Madonna, Boy George and Tracy Chapman
Now, many times when we write about African Artists living in the diaspora or not, we tend to read attributes like „colorful“ „vibrant“ or „different“ - even though these words seem like clichés, they are very much true.
BATILA’s sound is an inspiring journey through space and time. With a concoction of Congolese scents, a sparkle of Reggae and soft jazzy vibes, the cosmopolitan singer songwriter is so versatile that no existing genre can fully describe this musical experience.
He baptized this style Bantu Soul - a fusion of all genres created and inspired by people of African descent
Backed by his guides, his ancestors and, of course, nurtured by his African roots he defined his distinctive timbre and melodic style that we find in his music today. Influenced equally by Hip Hop Batila landed in the late 90ies a label deal with his Hip Hop Group Soylent Green. The group was signed for three years when he decided to seek higher education. Even during his student years, he continued his musical path by songwriting for no one less than the legendary Papa Wemba
A long list of work collaboration follows from working with some of the biggest German Artists, International producers to writing for fellow artists, mixing and mastering to releasing his own music and assisting in productions for several Academies of Art. List of relevant events that can be checked off a musical bucket list are the Rumba Parade Festival in Kinshasa, Nisville Jazzfestival in Serbia, the Blacksea Jazzfestival in Batumi and Lake of stars in Malawi and that is to only name a few.
Now let’s talk about music! Wonder why Ange da Costa changed his name to simply BATILA?
Let’s lift the veil - BATILA’s upcoming release, a LP, will be named TATAMANA - that’s Kikongo and means „don't give up / hold on to what you love“. The album is BATILA’s journey to African spirituality, self-love and black love. Ange’s congolese name is BATILA which was also his Grandfather's name and holds the meaning „the one who protects, conserves, holds it together“. So to get rid of the chains and reconnect more to his ancestors who inspired him to write this music and also live up to his true calling, he picked the name that reflects his new found attitude and was given to him by his origin.
All songs on TATAMANA are written by BATILA and recorded live with his band The DreamBus and many other great musicians between Berlin, Paris and Kinshasa.
Feel the power yet? Wait till you hear about the first single release of TATAMANA named NABOYI, one of the songs recorded at Sabab Studios in Kinshasa, a studio in the cellar of the RTNC Headquarter,an imposing skyscraper that became known as "La Cité la Voix du Peuple" during the Mobutu era and at the same time a place of political power struggles, but also part of the history of Congolese art and culture.
The lyrics are as magical as the energy of its place of recording.
NABOYI means „I don’t want“.
„I don’t want mental slavery ,fighting for my rights na lingi ( i want)
suffering i don't want, superficiality foreign spirituality nga na boyi
Mfumu Kimbangu ya nga (Mfumu Kimbangu is mine)
Let them talk their heaven talk, hell is for us all
you either write the book or you get fooled by their false interpretation- Naboyi
Simon Kimbangu was a Congolese activist and prophet who was killed by the Belgians for trying to enlighten the Congolese people. He is believed to be the reincarnation of the child who was burned with Kimpa Vita on her back.BATILA is recollecting and reprocessing the history of his place of origin by showcasing his deep understanding of musicality. BATILA flows these lyrics and as elegantly as melancholically over the skillful guitar sounds so typical of the world’s cradle of music that is the Congo.