Ibula Mwana Katakanga Jr., better known by his stage name of “Jacques Ibula”, is a Congolese singer-songwriter, painter, and activist. His unique, captivating voice has a refreshing artistic quality atypical to mainstream depictions of Congolese music. Born and raised in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and from an ancestral lineage of Lunda, Jacques emigrated to California in 1997 in pursuit of a higher education. There, he rediscovered music and art as his comfort. Self-taught as an adult, he picked up the guitar in 1999 as a way to reminisce about his country and childhood in the midst of the political unrest. Jacques was moved by the magical properties he found in music. His inspiration fueled by memories of children’s performances at night and folk traditions of storytelling in his parent’s village.
Jacques plays an eclectic mix of blues, folk, soul, and reggae - beautiful melodies blended with searing messages that give voice to his passion for life and belief that “…we are defined by the inner striving of our hearts more than our outward struggles, as in between lays a story worth sharing.” Released in 2009, his first EP, “Zanzibar” is a true testament of the enduring and transformative forces of music in his own life’s journey in defining his voice and music.