Apr 22, 2014

RhoDeo 1416 Roots

Hello, it's all about co-co-con-con-congo-congotrrr-congotronics today.. high tech from the african urban jungle

Historically, the region of the Congo was a vast geographical area of equatorial Africa located in the tropical wet forest of Central Africa called Congolian forests. It also owes its name to the predominant ethnic group in the region, ruled by Kingdom of Kongo founded towards the end of the 14th century and extended from 1390 to 1914. Although the span of rule of the kingdom varied, in its greatest extent, the Kingdom of Kongo reached from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Kwango River in the east, and from the Congo River in the north to the Kwanza River in the south. The kingdom largely existed from c. 1390 to 1891 as an independent state, and from 1891 to 1914 as a vassal state of the Kingdom of Portugal. The Congo River, its main river, flows through the region forming the Congo Basin.

Some groupings advocate a return to one Congolese homeland on the basis of the historical kingdom. Very notably, the Bundu dia Kongo movement advocates reviving the kingdom through secession from Angola, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Gabon. The nowadays geographic region spans across the Republic of the Congo (former French Congo), Democratic Republic of the Congo (former Zaïre/Belgian Congo), and the Angolan exclave of Cabinda (former Portuguese Congo) which lies (bizarly !) between the Republic and the Democratic Republic and produces lot's of oil. Ah yes big business making lots of money with Congolese resources.

Ok the coming weeks we're hearing about the music from this African jungle heart, it's a strange place for Westerners, life is cheap and emotions rise quickly. Religion and music deliver the much needed coherance  so for the coming 3 or 4 weeks we will present stars some of which have released many albums most of these never reached the Western public or even the great Discogs database. Today a man most famous for the structural changes he implemented to soukous music. The previous approach was to sing several verses and have one guitar solo at the end of the song. He revolutionized soukous by encouraging guitar solos after every verse and even sometimes at the beginning of the song. His form of soukous gave birth to the kwassa kwassa dance rhythm where the hips move back and forth while the hands move to follow the hips ........N'joy

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Konono No. 1 combine the spirit of traditional African music with the junk instrument concept and the progressive electronic aspect of modern times. The group's full name is L'Orchestre Folklorique T.P. Konono No. 1 de Mingiedi, T.P. being translated as "all powerful." It is also a tribute to the band of the legendary Congolese musician Franco, which was called T.P.O.K. Jazz. The band was founded by Mawangu Mingiedi, a member of the Zombo or Bazombo ethnic group, whose homeland is located near the Congo border with Angola. Mingiedi was born in Angola in 1933 and moved to Kinshasa in the former Zaire in 1949, and was a longtime taxi and truck driver trying to support a large family of children. He started the band as Orchestre Tout Puissant Likembe Konono No. 1 in the mid- to late '70s. Originally they adapted Zombo ritual music played by an ensemble of horns made from elephant tusks. But they switched their signature instruments to the likembe, also called the mbira, kalimba, or sanza, commonly known as the metal reed thumb piano. Their first recording was on the compilation Zaire: Musiques Urbaines a Kinshasa. The first album by Konono No. 1 was recorded and produced by Vincent Kenis, who also worked with Zap Mama, Taraf de Haïdouks, and Koçani Orkestar. The band began to amplify the likembes, starting with low-frequency six-volt radios, then 12-volt radios from cars. Their sound system is built from handmade microphones, old car parts, megaphones. and discarded amps, and they use junked auto pieces and pots and pans as percussion instruments. Now the premier music ambassadors from Congo and suburban Kinshasa, their distortion-laden beat and trance music has set a standard for modern world music. Their debut American release is Congotronics on the Crammed Discs label, and they are one of many similar bands from their homeland on the compilation Congotronics 2: Buzz 'n' Rumble from the Urb 'n' Jungle. The Dutch rock band the Ex covered one of their songs, and the group collaborated with Björk on the song "Earth Intruders" from her studio album Volta. In 2010, the band released Assume Crash Position as part of Crammed Records Congotronics Series.

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The second disc in the Crammed label's Congotronics series improves on the first one in two ways: first, by presenting a variety of bands, each of which blends urban and rural Congolese music styles in a slightly different way; and second, by adding to the package a 41-minute DVD that shows six of the featured bands during their recording sessions. Many of the groups featured here make use of the same drenchingly overamplified likembés (or thumb pianos) that are favored by Konono No. 1, but instrumentations vary: Basokin, an ensemble that hails from the Songye region of Congo, is comprised of three singers, three percussionists, and two guitarists; Bolia We Ndenge is a percussion-heavy group, but its sound is centered on the accordion; Masanki Sankayi is led by a preacher and storyteller. As with the first Congotronics album, this one is difficult to describe to anyone who hasn't heard the music firsthand. Sometimes the guitars spin out contrapuntal lines that wouldn't sound out of place in a Ghanaian high-life song; at other times they chomp out power chords in a very un-African style. The likembés are overamplified as a matter of course, and the resulting distorted sound is strangely spongy and soft. But the vocals are the most impressive aspect of most of these recordings -- four- and five-part harmonies ebb and flow like gentle waves among the rocks of the percussion and guitar parts, and at times are hair-raisingly beautiful.

VA - Buzz'N Rumble From The Urb'n' Jungle (Congotronics 2) (flac  445mb)

01 Masanka Sankayi + Kasai Allstars - Wa Muluendu 4:00
02 Kasai Allstars - Koyile / Nyeka Nyeka 7:17
03 Sobanza Mimanisa - Kiwembo 6:47
04 Kasai Allstars - Kabuangoyi 9:35
05 Kisanzi Congo - Soif Conjugale 7:17
06 Masanka Sankayi - Le Laboureur 4:59
07 Bolia We Ndenge - Bosamba Ndeke 6:14
08 Basokin - Mulume 8:35
09 Konono No. 1 - T.P. Couleur Café 8:19

VA - Buzz'N Rumble From The Urb'n' Jungle (Congotronics 2)  (ogg 172mb)

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Kasai Allstars, a Congolese collective comprised of musicians from five different bands, were showcased on the third album in the Congotronics series released by the label Crammed Discs. Based in Kinshasa, the capital city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kasai Allstars includes musicians from the bands Lusombe Madimba, Tandjolo, Dibua Dietu, Basokin, and Masanka Sankayi, some of whom were showcased on the previous album in the Congotronics series, Congotronics 2: Buzz'n'Rumble in the Urb'n'Jungle (2006). Kasai Allstars made their full-length album debut on the third album in the Congotronics series, In the 7th Moon, the Chief Turned Into a Swimming Fish and Ate the Head of His Enemy by Magic.

The third volume in Crammed Disc's excellent Congotronics series is as wild, sophisticated, and truly exotic as its predecessors (the title alone, In the 7th Moon, the Chief Turned Into a Swimming Fish and Ate the Head of His Enemy by Magic, should reflect this). The Kasai Allstars are based in Kinshasa and form a collective of about 25 musicians from five different bands from the region who all represent different ethnic groups. Over time immemorial, some of these intersecting groups have been in conflict with one another as each has its own culture and language. In other words, assembling this supergroup was no easy task, but musicians of all cultures tend to think differently than most people: the expansive spirit of adventure often trumps prejudice. These players include not only instrumentalists, but ten singers and dancers as well. Some of these bands -- Lusombe, Madimba Tandjolo, Dibua, Basokin, and Masanka Sankayi -- have appeared on the two previous Congotronics recordings on their own. The music on this volume is as surprising as it is different from the other Congotronics volumes. These musicians have to adapt instruments, scalar harmonics, singing styles, and even language in order to be able to work together. Add to this the uses of amplification and modern production. That said, they not only invent rhythms and melodies but also play their traditional styles with one another. The players use instruments familiar to all Kasai cultures like the likembe (thumb piano), lokombe, xylophone, and the tandojo as well as the electric guitar (which acted as a substitute for the more traditional lusese tetrachord). The results of this fusion can especially be heard on"Kafuulu Balu," "Mbua-a-matumba," "Analengo," and "Mpombo Yetu." The culture clash that comes across on this glorious volume reflects the strident effort of all of these tribes to maintain their identity against the encroachment of Christianity in the villages that allows these instruments only to be used in the playing of gospel music. The pagan dances, parties, and ceremonies of the tribes have effectively been all but completely stamped out in the remote villages of Kasai. Therefore, this is urban music, from the heart of the city where the influence of the church is far less prominent. The Kasai Allstars, therefore, like the Tinariwen and many other groups, play music of resistance. But never did resistance sound so infectious, joyous, and utterly freewheeling as this does. So far, Crammed's Congotronics series has been virtually unassailable. The sound is terrific, the presentation is handsome, the sound and selection are amazing; and negotiations with musicians are not done on colonial terms. In addition, the wonderfully researched notes by Herbert Mputu and producer Vincent Kenis are indispensable.

Kasai Allstars - In The 7th Moon, The Chief Turned Into A Swimming Fish And Ate The Head Of His Enemy By Magic (flac  492mb)

01 Quick As White 7:07
02 Mukuba 8:12
03 Kafuulu Balu 6:09
04 Beyond The 7th Moon 5:29
05 Mbua-A-Matumba 10:47
06 Mpombo Yetu 8:02
07 Tshitua Fuila Mbuloba 5:13
08 Analengo 8:19
09 Drowning Goat (Mbuji-Mayi) 10:46

Kasai Allstars - In The 7th Moon, The Chief Turned Into A Swimming Fish And Ate The Head Of His Enemy By Magic  (ogg 216mb)

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For nearly 40 years, Mingiedi Mawangu and his Konono No. 1 likembe orchestra, have been playing street parties and festivals in the Congo, and since the 21st century, all over the world. The likembe is a thumb piano made from steel strips cut to various lengs and played across a steel bridge over a hollowed wooden box, creating a resonating tinny sound that registers from deep and and rumbles to high and reedy. Konono No. 1 make their instruments from car parts and amplify them with everything from microphones assembled from alternator magnets, camshafts, valves, and speakers to homemade amplifiers that distort the likembe's sound and create numerous overtones and effects accompanied by whistles and other percussion instruments made from discarded steel pots, pans, radiators, sheets of tin, trunk covers, car hoods, etc. The only conventional modern instrument is Duki Makumbu's electric bass and Vincent Visi's makeshift drum kit (likewise made of found items).

Previous recordings have documented the many kinds of sounds Konono No. 1 generate in their form of polyrhythmic bazombo trance music that incorporates interlinking folk and improvised melodies that are sometimes played by the likembes, and at other times chanted and sung with call and response vocals. Assume Crash Position, produced by Crammed's Vincent Kenis, was recorded in a proper studio setting in Kinshasa. Rather than let the environment take away from the kinetic, utterly organic, raw feel of their previous albums, the separation of sounds created here, and the clarity of the way the likembes interact with one another, create a new experience altogether. Konono No. 1's approach to playing is not at all different; it is still the sound of an hour-long celebration unfolding -- even adding a couple of likembe players from the Kasai All-Stars on "Mama Na Bana," and a few guitars littered throughout doesn't alter that. A solid example is in one of their set standards, “Konono Wa Wa Wa,” near the album's end. The bassline is clearly stated, followed by layers of drums and percussion. The melody unfolds in call and response chants before the likembes begin to enter gradually by tonality. What seems like an ordinary folk song is, by the four-minute mark of its nearly 12 minutes, a complete exercise in Konono No. 1's trademark ancient-to-future hip-shaking trance dance with echoing sounds, reverb, distortion, and overwhelming energy united inseparably. Another extended workout is on album0opener "Wumbanzanga," where a guitar line is woven through the intricate melody of likembes, percussion, and bass; deep shouted responses to Pauline Mbuka Nsiala's lead vocals make this a celebratory hypnosis inducer; it will make a dancer out of anyone within earshot. For fans, Assume Crash Position is a necessary addition to the catalog. For the intrigued, this is an excellent starting point.

Konono No 1 - Assume Crash Position  (flac  364mb)

01 Moto Moindo 5:47
02 Polio 3:08
03 Je T'Aime 5:01
04 Sala Keba 4:26
05 Moziki 4:56
06 Sala Mosala 6:14
07 Avramandole 3:09
08 Tonkara 6:33
09 Marguerite 6:45
10 Staff Benda Bilili 5:54
11 Mwana 6:54

Konono No 1 - Assume Crash Position  (ogg 152mb)

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previously Sunshine, Central Africa Sep 12, 2007

Konono No 1 - Gongotronics  (ogg 120mb)
and now lossless too
Konono No 1 - Gongotronics  (flac  334mb)

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1 comment:

santino said...

Thank you for Congotronics --amazing band!