Konono No. 1—everyone’s favorite African tranced-out dance band—are clearing the way for a new act to follow in the Congotronics brand. A third volume of Congotronics! Just got the press release from Motormouth media:
I’m honored to announce the next (and most exhilarating!) Congotronics release since Konono No 1 hit the map. Volume 3 features the Kasai Allstars and it’s out at the end of September….Real excited for people to hear this…
The press release:
“The Crammed Discs! imprint is proud to announce the launch of the most exhilarating volume in the series of Congotronics releases. Controtronics 3 takes the dynasty to the next level and features the inimitable Kasaï Allstars, exclusively. With their debut album, “In the 7th moon, the chief turned into a swimming fish and ate the head of his enemy by magic”, the Kasai Allstars’ music is powerful and sophisticated, driving, and raw. Compared to Konono No 1 (whose minimal and effective sound has been massively adopted by the international electronica, world music and alternative rock scenes), Kasai Allstars (based in Kinshasa, DR Congo) use a broader array of instruments & textures, and wilder, more complex, polyrhythms. Not to mention they are a collective revolving around 25 musicians from five bands, all from the Kasai region, but originating from five different ethnic groups: the Luba, the Songye, the Lulua, the Tetela and the Luntu. Some of these groups have endured conflicting relationships over the centuries; they each have their own culture, their own language and their own musical traditions, which were always thought to be incompatible until these musicians decided to pool their resources to form a “superband”, creating harmony through sound and movement with one another. This will be their first full-length release, aside from being featured beautifully on Congotronics 2.
Using a spectacular mixture of acoustic instruments, electric guitars, distortion-laden thumb pianos and soulful vocals, Kasai Allstars often sound like some kind of retro-futurist primeval rock band. They draw their songs from festive and ritual music played in the bush before being banned by the Europeans, who considered the highly erotic dances and the pagan trance ceremonies as “satanic”. These traditional sounds were fought successively by the colonial authorities, by the missionaries and by the increasingly-influential Congolese evangelist sects: the highly erotic dances and the pagan trance ceremonies were considered “satanic” and unholy, and were gradually banned. Even the actual traditional instruments all but disappeared (as Kasai Allstars spokesman Mi-Amor ironically points out, “Nowadays it is far easier to find a variety of slit drums, thumb pianos and marimbas in the museums of the northern hemisphere than in the Congolese cities or countryside”).
Full Disclosure: In my original post, I had gotten totally confused and read only the first few sentences of the press release and just thought it was a new Konono No. 1 album. Pretty stupid. Thanks to Pop Cesspool for the e-mail correcting my errors. So post has been revamped and corrected.