Saturday, August 02, 2008

Congotronics and the Kasai Allstars

Crammed Discs have recently released the third album in their Congotronics series. This one's titled, are you ready for this, In the 7th moon, the chief turned into a swimming fish and ate the head of his enemy by magic. No kidding! The first album in the series was released back in 2005 and featured Konono Number One. The second brought together tracks from 7 different performers (including Konono Numer One for one). This third album once again shifts the focus back on one particular group who appeared on the second album, the Kasai Allstars.

The Kasai Allstars is actually a collective which includes at times up to twenty five musicians from five different bands all from the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Not only are they from five different regions though, they're also from five different ethnic groups. Each musician sets aside their differences, draws from their own festive and ritual music, and brings together their own traditions to build something greater: the Allstars.

The result is some incredibly complex and rhythmic music that's hard to resist. With all of the many diverse elements going into these tracks, it's like audio liquid flowing in and out. An instrument or a line will introduce itself, weave around the song's basic structure, and fade out, sometimes to return, other times not. In terms of instrumentation, the members bring together instruments both traditional (including the very unique sounding thumb piano) as well as inventive to produce complementary notes. Bring it all together and you have some music that, much like the Inuit throat singer Tagaq I wrote about earlier this week, feels timeless and yet refreshingly new.

Visit their website, their label Crammed Discs, and become their friend on MySpace.

and a couple from the previous Congotronic releases:

Konono No.1 - Ungudi Wele Wele : Congotronics

Boila We Ndenge - Bosamba Ndeke : Congotronics 2: Buzz 'n' Rumble from the Urb 'n' Jungle

No comments: