5 May 2021

Congo

eyooooo musonge mukelenge

'The Congolese collective is inspired by many myths and proverbs, as reflected in the name of their album, which evokes the idea of there being “strength in unity.” This universal motto is also the national motto of Bolivia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Haiti and Belgium. The singer Bijou recently joined the collective, known for its electronic style, which includes percussion and xylophones. Recorded in Kinshasa, the project perfectly highlights the plurality of traditional music within the same city, drawing inspiration from the Luba, Songye and Tetela cultures.'

Mopero Mupemba in the recording studio


The Congolese collective Kasaï Allstars offers an ode to peace

“Olooh, a War Dance For Peace” arrives ahead of  Kasaï Allstars fourth album’s release, Black Ants Always Fly Together, One Bangle Makes No Sound.

'Kasai Allstars is back with “Olooh, a War Dance For Peace.” In a video directed by Patrick Zoom and filmed near Kinshasa, the Congolese collective pays tribute to an ancestral tradition that takes place in many villages: “When a problem arises among the villagers, they seek a peaceful solution by performing a traditional war dance, weapons in hand. This dance was used to signal the end of hostilities and is now used to resolve conflicts.” These rituals were banned because of the allegedly erotic and pagan nature of some of their dances. Most of the lyrics are inspired by myths and proverbs, as seen in the album’s name. This refers to the adage that “There is strength in numbers.” A universal message, this idea also represents the national motto of Bolivia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Haiti and Belgium.

The collective was born from the merger of five orchestras, all from Kasai, a Congolese region the size of France. These fifteen musicians also belong to five different cultural groups, an idea originally perceived as incompatible, because of their different moral codes. Nevertheless, they have continued to prove that their art has the ability to transcend both cultural and linguistic barriers. Since 2005, the collective has grown in popularity, sometimes occupying an avant-garde space in the rock scene. Many artists from all over the world support them, such as Argentina’s Juana Molina, the American Saul Williams and Iceland’s Björk.

Their new album features – for the first time – guitarist Mopero Mupemba as producer, who also wrote half the songs. We should also note the presence of singer Bijou, who recently joined the collective, along with vocalists Muambuyi, Kabongo, Mi Amor and Tandjolo. Here, electronic music rubs shoulders with electric guitar, percussion, pianos, drums and xylophones. Recorded in Kinshasa, before being mixed in Brussels by Greg Bauchau and Vincent Kenis, the album perfectly highlights the plurality of traditional music within the city, which is inspired by the cultures of the Luba, the Songye and the Tetela.' -Pan African Music


'This 4th full-length album by the legendary Congolese collective marks a new milestone in their already rich history, as the band have incorporated their own approach to electronic music into their new compositions.

The album was produced by guitarist Mopero Mupemba, who also wrote about half of the songs. Mopero also took care of the often intricate programming, which is perfectly adapted to Kasai Allstars' peculiar rhythmic patterns drawn from traditional trance and ritual music.

The album features Kasai Allstars mainstays such as vocalist Muambuyi (whose voice and personality inspired the making of multi-awarded feature film Félicité), vocalist and electric likembe player Kabongo, powerful singer Mi Amor, and instrumentalists Tandjolo and Bayila. Wonderful young vocalist Bijou makes a notable first appearance on several tracks.

Kasai Allstars was born from the reunion of five bands, all from the Kasai region, but originating from five different ethnic groups whose diverse musical traditions were thought to be incompatible until these musicians decided to pool their resources and work together, an inspiring example of collaboration transcending ethnic and language barriers. Ever since the debut release in 2008, Kasai Allstars' music struck the imagination of music lovers and artists worldwide. They're particularly admired by avant-indie rock, electronic and hip hop musicians and media, who consider it as a kind of "primal rock", an accidental blend of trance and avant-garde. They're admired by artists such as Saul Williams, Questlove and Björk, have engaged in live collaborations with Deerhoof, Juana Molina and Konono N°1, and have had their tracks remixed by the likes of Animal Collective, Deerhoof, Aksak Maboul, Jolie Holland, Shackleton and more.'

1. Kasai Munene 6:16
2. Olooh, A War Dance For Peace 5:42
3. Musungu Elongo paints his face white to scare small children 3:35
4. Like a Dry Leaf On a Tree 5:26
5. The Large Bird, The Woman and The Baby 4:22
6. Baba Bende 4:06
7. The Ecstasy Of Singing 4:04
8. Hunters and Farmers Need The Blacksmith 4:38
9. Betrayal By Gossip 4:48
10. Unity Is Strength 4:43
11. Allstars All Around 5:37
12. The Goat's Voice 5:40