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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 Mupamba 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.

Check out Kasaï Allstars in our Songs of the Week playlist on  Spotify and Deezer.

The album Black Ants Always Fly Together, One Bangle Makes No Sound will be released on April 30, 2021 via Crammed Discs.