Saturday, 8 October 2011
Recommended music: 'Kinshasa One Two' by DRC Music
In July 2011 eleven producers headed to Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo to record an album with contemporary Congolese musicians. Those 11 (Damon Albarn, Dan The Automator, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Jneiro Jarel, Richard Russell, Actress, Marc Antoine, Alwest, Remi Kabaka, Rodaidh McDonald and Kwes) worked with over 50 local musicians such as Jupiter and the Okwess International, Bokotola System, and Nelly Liyemge, to record the record over the space of just 5 days, which has now been released on Warp Records.
Unlike Albarn's previous foray into African music (the Mali Music album in 2002) his involvement here is far more understated, and his vocals only appear on the first track 'Hallo', which does sound quite a lot like it could've been a Gorillaz track. Elsewhere on the album there's a wide variety of styles as the different producers involved each take a hand in steering the music. So the music veers from more distinctively African tracks, like the acapella 'Love', to some which have more of an electronic underpinning. It doesn't feel disjointed though, and the whole album hangs together really well with an overall percussive feel and an uplifting sense of spirit.
The Democratic Republic of Congo has long been racked by conflict and is home to one of the world's worst humanitarian crises. Proceeds from this album will benefit the local performers and Oxfam's work in Congo. So you get to hear some good music while at the same time helping a good cause - simples! The video below gives you a taster of how the sessions came together, and below it you can listen to three tracks from the album.
DRC Music - Kinshasa One Two (see http://drcmusic.org ) by DRC Music