About The Bongolian
The Bongolian is an alias used by English multi-instrumentalist and producer Nasser Bouzida, whose stylish records traverse a rousing blend of funk, soul, Latin, and jazz music. Created in the early 2000s, the Bongolian began as a side project of London's Big Boss Man, the Latin funk outfit of which Bouzida is the frontman. As the Bongolian, his percussive, retro-inspired approach has yielded highlights like 2007's Outer Bongolia and 2016's synth-heavy Moog Maximus. His sixth album, Harlem Hipshake, appeared in 2021 and was inspired by New York's vintage Latin soul scene.
Growing up in Newbury, Bouzida was obsessed with music, drawn particularly to percussive styles like Latin and funk. He and guitarist Trevor Harding formed the hard-driving club band Big Boss Man in the late '90s and became a staple of DJ Paul Tunkin's Blow Up Records. As frontman of the group, Bouzida sang, played organ, and a variety of percussion instruments including the bongos.
In 2002, he recorded his first solo album as the Bongolian. A vibrant mish-mash of '60s jazz, soul, and dance influences, The Bongolian was followed four years later by the more Latin-driven Blueprint. Though still fronting Big Boss Man, Bouzida's work as the Bongolian came to incorporate all manner of styles including psychedelia and rock, but always with a deep emphasis on funky grooves and rhythms. 2007's Outer Bongolia and 2011's Bongos for Beatniks were followed by Lost in Sound, a 2012 collaboration with Hammond organist Fay Hallam. His 2016 set Moog Maximus was centered around funky analog synthesizers.
In addition to his work as the Bongolian and with Big Boss Man, Bouzida has remained an active producer, creating library albums for De Wolfe Limited, running his own studio in Wales, and even compiling his own commercial set of vintage beats and loops for other musicians. The Bongolian returned in 2021 with the New York-inspired Harlem Hipshake, which, like all of his albums, was released by Blow Up. ~ Timothy Monger