Alongside a new album release, Kinshasa-based Staff Benda Bilili "shook the world" at the BBC Proms this summer.
Raucous is not a word that is synonymous with the BBC Proms, but it is certainly the best word to describe the vibrant atmosphere whipped up by Staff Benda Bilili during its debut Prom performance
on 6 September.
Playing in the stunning, yet undoubtedly intimidating, space of the Royal Albert Hall in London, the Congolese group got off to a shaky start. By the third song, they had settled into a groove and were playing to an undulating mass of dancing promenaders.
Showcasing songs from the successful 2009 album Très Très Fort and the newly released Bouger Le Monde!, the group displayed the energy and unity of a band who have developed together.
Proving that they have got plenty more to give beyond Très Très Fort, the musicians showed a force that defies their disabilities and lives up to their name: Staff Benda Bilili translates as "looking beyond appearances".
This message is topical and was keenly felt as the excitement of the Paralympics came to an end.
The band were joined on 'Moto Moindo' and 'Staff Benda Bilili' by the towering Congolese-born, Belgian-bred rap and hip hop artist Baloji.
His quirky outfit and mischievous demeanor were a wonderful complement to the ensemble, not to mention his musical contributions.
Slipping in among the Staff Benda musicians as if he belonged, Baloji conversed with Coco Ngambali: his tumbling spoken word to Ngambali's answered guitar riff.
The distinctive sound of Roger Landu's one-stringed tin can santongé was the cement in the musical mix: his skill on this simple home-made instrument is phenomenal.
However, it was his rich and maturing voice that really shone through, showing his potential as a musician in his own right.
But as he sings of never leaving Staff Benda Bilili in 'Ne Me Quitte Pas,' it is clear the strength drawn from the collaboration works in both directions.
Holding it all together were the five men in the front, dancing in their wheelchairs or on crutches with effortless cool in dapper suits and dark shades.
Weaving the influences of reggae, blues and funk into the rhythms of Congolese rumba, they displayed a vivacity and an enjoyment that was infectious.
The only disappointment was to have seen so little of the dynamic synergy created with Baloji. Surely it is a connection that could, and should, be further explored. ●