In the nineteen nineties, Brussels based Congolese singer-songwriter Coco Malabar (real name Nicolas Tumba) was still a popular face in the Belgian world music scene, but the last few years he seemed to have disappeared. Until now, that is, because with 'Tabla Rasa' Coco is starting with a clean slate! Malabar grew up listening to his father's Miriam Makeba records, but later became fascinated by Fela Kuti and Joseph 'Le Grand Kallé' Kabasel. He describes his style as a mix of Afro-pop, Afro-rock and Afro-groove. Always with a message though, like in the groovy 'Bana Kongo', in which Coco calls on the Congolese finally to start behaving like responsible adults, 'Democrassia', in which he wonders whether democracy is bound to a culture or a geographical location, or 'Revolte-face', a song with a reggae vibe, in which Malabar lists as series of excuse often invoked in order not to have to rebel against the many injustices that surround us. 'Nansha Bambe', reflects the blues of an African unable to cope with the stress of western life any longer, really personal is 'Gueule De Loser', in which Coco tells of his overconfident musical dreams, most of which he was not able to realize. The only song on 'Tabla Rasa' in which Malabar's voice isn't dominant is 'Love I Need', a reworking of a Jimmy Cliff classic, for which he shared the vocals with Aline Bosuma. Our personal favorite from the track list is closing track 'Mambeta', a raised middle finger to his critics, featuring a chorus Malabar borrowed from Congolese folk group Kintueni. Welcome back Coco!