About ngomasound

NGOMA SOUNDSYSTEM a trio of DJ, Percussion, and Reed instruments, NGOMA Soundsystem fuses past and future, east and west, ancestral rhythms and hyper-modern sound. Ngoma Soundsystem connects the hottest dance music styles new and old from the Motherland and beyond with improvised rhythmic and melodic invention. Dynamic interplay of live instrumentation with dj and computer makes NGOMA Soundsystem a versatile and powerful musical entity operating against all fictional cultural borders and illusions of separation. ____________________________________________ DJ ZHAO DJ Zhao brings the best contemporary and classic dance music together from all five continents, with focus on Africa. With in depth selections spanning wildly different times and places, DJ Zhao’s remix and mashup work directly connects "East" and "West", acoustic and electronic, traditional and hyper-modern. Amateur ethno-musicologist and professional booty shaker, Zhao is an International Ambas...sador of BASS not only talking about, but demonstrating through raw sound experience, the underlying unity of all earth cultures. Performing solo and as part of Ngoma Sound-system with Cuban Trumpeter El Congo (Tony Allen, Jimmy Tennor) and various amazing Percussionists, DJ Zhao brings unique perspectives and vision to every event, and has performed or shared bills with artists such as Shangaan Electro, Konono No. 1 (Congo), Rhythm and Sound (DE), Cooly G (UK), Orchestre Poly Rythmo de Cotonou (Benin), Shackleton (UK), Pan Sonic (Finland), etc. Born and Raised in Beijing, China, and active as DJ and sound curator in the US since 2000, Zhao has organized critically acclaimed long running events focusing on Improvisation and Sound Art as well as Techno. After relocating to Berlin, Germany, and starting the Ngoma collective, Zhao has been performing regularly at clubs and festivals including: FESTIVALS: ____________________________________________ Fusion Festival (DE) EXIT Festival (Serbia) Incubate Festival (NL) Solar Weekend Festival (NL) Ethnoport Festival (PL) [UN]Defined Festival (Merano, Italy) AT.Tension Festival (Berlin, DE) CLUBS: ____________________________________________ Berghain (Berlin, DE) Horst (Berlin, DE) Cassiopeia (Berlin, DE) Jackie Terrasse (Berlin, DE) YAAM (Berlin, DE) Klub K (Heidelberg, DE) UT Connewitz (Leipzig, DE) Palác Akropolis (Prague, CZ) ____________________________________________ booking: ngomasound@gmail.com

NGOMA 21: دبكة — Syria For Ever

Syria4

In Gaziantep, an old Turkish city on the Eastern and Southern Most part of the country, bordering Syria, i had the fortune of meeting 2 Syrian young men who were involved in the initial student and popular uprising, part of the so-called “Arab Spring”.  They were among the most charming, intelligent, funny and friendly guys i’ve ever met, and had become wanted men and refugees, one of them with a price on his head, hiding out in Turkey.  They told inspiring and harrowing stories of the spontaneous peaceful demonstrations against the oppressive Assad regime, how it kept going in the face of brutal repression by police and military.  And of how the government, in 2011, released thousands of jihadists from prison, while the revolutionary political prisoners stayed in captivity and continued to be tortured, in order to dilute the rebellion, to brand the opposition as extremists, and create a false choice for the population, of either government or fundamentalism.  Shortly after that, the US backed jihadist group known as ISIS or ISIL infiltrated, and the country has been steadily torn apart by violence, its infrastructure crippled, its glorious ancient cities destroyed, creating multiple and massive humanitarian nightmares.

In addition to first hand accounts of these events, one of these guys also gave me a collection of amazing contemporary Syrian Debkah, a modern dance music with ancient roots, very popular in many parts of the Middle East.

LISTEN //// DOWNLOAD 

In these extremely trying times, and when news media coverage of the country is filled with nothing but tragedy, let us never forget the incredible cultural wealth of Syria, and the powerful, beautiful majesty of Syrian music.

P.S.

The only exposure to Dabkah in the West in recent years has been Omar Suleyman, whose popularity might be due to the rough and simplistic aspects of his music being appealing to “alternative” music fans, or maybe it’s just luck.  In Syria he is considered an unimportant and low level musician, something like an ignorant redneck.  But he not only makes sub-standard Dabke (I’ve realized after listening to the music on this mix), but has also dedicated one of his songs to the Assad regime, and never once spoke or sang about the struggles of the Syrian people, living a wealthy life in Turkey.  Even though one of his tunes appeared in NGOMA 04, I will likely not be playing much of his music in the future.

Paris and Toulouse

Friday, June 12at 11:00pm – 6:00am
Le Malibv — 44 rue Tiquetonne, 75002 Paris, France

UMOJA (INI Movement / Piri Piri Music ; Amsterdam)
https://soundcloud.com/umojaworldwide

Around The World (Paris)
https://soundcloud.com/atw0rld

dj zhao ( NGOMA SOUND Berlin / Berlin)
https://soundcloud.com/djzhao

Mawimbi
https://soundcloud.com/wearemawimbi

June 14 – June 15 Jun 14 at 12:00pm to Jun 15 at 12:00am

Jardin Monplaisir 1 Bd Monplaisir, 31400 Toulouse, France
☀ Dimanche 14 juin – Midi-Minuit – Jardin Monplaisir (centre ville) ☀

ZHAO – [ALL / Berlin] – (Ngoma Sound)
RAFAEL ARAGON – [FRA / Paris] – (Caballito / Latino Resiste)
DJ NO BREAKFAST – [FRA / Tlse] – (Guachafita)
YEAHMAN! – [FRA / Tlse] – (Ghetto Sonido – Muundial Mix)

par le Collectif Volubile ( Ambre Caziers / Loren Coquillat / Pauline Lavergne / Cassandre

► PONG 1D & LEVITATION ◄  http://fauxdepart.com/
►FRAGILE !◄  http://kinourendfou.wordpress.com/
► FRESQUE ◄  http://www.donoteat.fr/Munoz / Agathe Thevenot & guests)

Bayreuth (DE) Sat. 30.05.2015

Mashup, an exhibition of artworks by contem- porary artists from Africa generated during the research and exhibition project Mashup the Archive at Iwalewahaus in Bayreuth, Germany.

It’s nice to get booked for the core of what i do. Will be playing alongside many very talented artists such as Miss Eve, Otieno Gomba, Délio Jasse, Raphael Kariuki, Nita., Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi, Simon Rittmeier, Kevo Stero, Pamela Sunstrum, and Uche Uzorka.

and last weekend Karnival was fun…

afroheat_karnival

DeathCloud

DeathcloudAs I’m sure many of you have noticed, 99% of my uploads on SoundCloud have been hidden.  This is because the price of an “unlimited account” has gone back up to 89 Euros a year, and i just can’t afford it at the moment.

It is bad timing as i have many finished mashups and edits i’ve been wanting to upload for quite some time, and was about to sit down and make time to do it. There are also several big big mixes coming soon, including Syrian Debkah, Classic Colombia, Acid Techno, and a beautiful Fusion 8.

If you would like access to all the older sounds again, and hear the new ones on SoundCloud which makes download possible, feel free to make a donation via the paypal button on the home page (top right), or just click HERE.

As soon as there is enough funds i will renew the subscription.  Thanks.

Aztek Digital

Aztek-Digital2

Pre-Hispanic indigenous rhythm roots, influence from African sciences of the drum, Shamanic sounds from atop the Peruvian mountains and deep in the Amazonian jungle… These describe parts of this new electronic music known loosely as Tribal Guarachero. This mix comprises of mostly music from Mexico, where the original sound was born, with some tracks from Central, South, and North America, and Europe.

01 David Amram & Friends – Andes Breeze
02 Malandro – Chmuk Aak’ab
03 Elias Deepman – Vabu the Cat (Alejandro Villanueva Remix)
04 Rafael Aragon – Selvadelica (Bounce)
05 Mexicans With Guns – Cool Arrow
06 Farrapo & Yanez ft. Botecoeletro- Oliveto (Thykier Remix)
07 French Fries – Laquisha Dub
08 Antae – Alma (Freddy Da Stupid Jungle Mix)
09 Mexico Caliente – Bloodshake
10 Systema Solar – Oye
11 Joe Arroyo – La Tortuga (Jose Marquez Edit)
12 Santos – San Cristóbal
13 The Peronists – Nazca Lines (final mix)
14 Stereo Revuelta – Organ of Love (Stereo Revuelta Refix)
15 Dj Javier Estrada – Afrimaye Kuduro
16 Estrellas Del Caribe – El Yoyo X Offshore – Mintla
17 Petrona Martinez – El Critica (Maga Bo Remix)
18 Lechuga Zafiro – Isla de Flores (Rafael Aragon Remix)
19 TrikoO Dj – Danza De Los Aztecas (Prehispanic Drums)
20 Bongo Laser – Ovniton
21 Goia Tterkreis & Steve Kasper – Pull Kali (Rooted Dub)
22 Nguzunguzu – El Bebe Ambiente
23 Dj Rogelio Huerta – Espiritu Mohana (Prehipanic Rescuers)
24 Dj Rogelio Huerta – Moctezuma Xocoyotzin
25 Mixer Javier Bernal – Ezpektro
26 Javier Estrada – Prehispanic Future
27 Javier Estrada -Samba Mi Negra
28 Alan Rosales – Arremangala
29 Sharps – Lagrimas y Historias
30 Dj Javier Estrada – I Want You
31 Dj Rescate – Relax Tranquilidad

MIDEAST FUTURISM!

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 17.34.34 Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 17.34.58

All over the Middle East rises new musical movements channelling the future into the roots of Arabic music. New genres emerge as electronic sounds meet distorted Arabic percussion, uplifting bass mix with hypnotic Debka synthesizers, hard hip hop confronts chopped belly dance samples, high pitched Mawal vocals over rough drum loops.

These movements live in the deep dark basements of Beirut and Ramallah, Rabat and Istanbul, and in the Arab diaspora all around Europe, with musicians discovering their homeland culture. A way to (re)discover cultural identity and create new identities, these movements also reflect social change, and the wish of young Arabs to integrate into western traditions and still keep the their unique culture, taking pride in their heritage but also pushing it beyond, into the future.

Arabic music is descent of distinct tribal cultures, from the Dvol drums of Kurdistan to the Berber music of Morocco, these forms travel through time and space, into oscillators and drums machines, creating bold new forms today – MIDEAST FUTURISM.

Presenting Sufi-Bass, Bedouin Noise, Berber-Tech, Electro-Chaabi, and Dabke-Club, MID EAST FUTURISM blurs the lines between East and West, acoustic and digital, tradition and innovation, weaving a hypnotic and hallucinatory tapestry of sound and rhythm.

This edition celebrates the first release of Rocky B’s project “The Tropikal Camel” on Folcore Recordings: “in Die Hafla”.

Friday 06 March 9:00pm – 5:00am
ACUD MACHT NEU — Veteranenstraße 21, 10119 Berlin, Germany

http://www.residentadvisor.net/event.aspx?691571

NGOMA in Switzerland

With Dj Marcelle zurich

goat

Date: 19.02.2015
Location: Cafete (Reitschule Bern), Neubrückstrasse 8, 3012 Bern
Time: 22.30 Uhr

Afro-Tech, Future-Bass, Juke-Jungle, Tarraxinha, Zouk-Bass

Zum Chinesischen Neujahrsfest des Jahres der Ziege kommt DJ Zhao aus Berlin zu Besuch. Geboren in Beijing, heute zuhause in Berlin spielt er eine eklektrische Mischung aus polyrhythmischen Leckerbissen von jedem Kontinent. Time Tarracho sind die Schweizer Leader im frei interpretierten Zouk-Bass.

NG◎M▲ //// Y▲▲M

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Saturday, February 28 //// 11:00pm – 8:00am
YAAM //// An der Schillingbrücke/ Stralauer Platz, 10243 Berlin, Germany
facebook // residentadvisor

NG◎M▲ is a new poly-rhythmic consciousness connecting the underground: Luanda, New Jersey, Jo’burg, London, Nairobi, Chicago, Kinshasa, Paris, and Berlin.

Isigubhu, Jersey Club, Kuduro, Juke, Grime, Hiphop and Techno, NG◎M▲ brings the most innovative sounds and illest vibes: African Roots, Future Sound.

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Rushmore [ Trax Couture / London ]

Rushmore has been guarding the frontline of London’s underground club scene with proven success since 2011 through his club nights Rhythm Talk and House Of Trax with co boss Fools, and heading up his label, Trax Couture.  He has a strict penchant for no-frills heavy percussive workouts and US ghetto club music, which comes across firmly in his dj sets and own production. His stripped back, effective approach to club music sees him give a different point of view on the dance floor by experimenting with merging styles covering ballroom, grime, footwork, ghetto house and techno.

D.R.E.E.A. [ NYC / Berlin ]

German DJ, artist and writer D.R.E.E.A. established herself as one of the few credible female selectors in Berlin’s night life. Original head who started paying her dues writing for RAP.de – Germany’s online hip hop Source. After making moves in New York’s musical and artistic underground scene, she settled back in Berlin. Her selection of adventurous and rugged styles of music has garnished her a cult following across Europe.

Qumasiquamé [ Through My Speakers // Berlin ]

Growing up as a big fan of golden-era rap, while at the same time slowly experiencing electronic music mainly from the UK, Qumasiquamé continually discovers his love for several sounds with roots from the motherland. His sets are driven by the ambition to reflect the musical phases and experiences he made in the last two decades and to combine them with the energy of the environment that surrounds him at present.

Dj Zhao [ Ngoma Sound // Berlin ]

With a background in sound art and experimental techno, DJ Zhao brings the best contemporary and classic dance music together from wildly different times and places, with focus on Africa. Informed of up-to-the-minute global styles, Dj Zhao fuses ancestral rhythms and urban bass pressure, connecting “East” and “West”, acoustic and electronic, traditional and modern. Constructing a sound without borders, Dj Zhao’s sets of innovative club, bass, and electronic music as well as classic grooves are always guided by a polyrhythmic understanding of energy in motion.

MC Zoum [ Springstoff / Ngoma Sound // Berlin ]

A versatile Congolese/French MC flowing in Kikongo, Lingala, French, English, and German, MC Carmel Zoum is a fiery force of nature on the mic, bringing groovey and beautiful Congolese melodies and hardcore Afro-Dancehall vibes to thrill dance floors world wide.

MUTANT 7 – Club Invasion

_CLUB-INVASION

In the ongoing rebirth of explicit poly-rhythms and super syncopated percussive goodness in African-American music, B-more/Philly and Newark/Jersey Club is a particularly sexy and fun permutation, and has been gaining momentum for a number of years, bursting with musical and dance ideas.  Vice just made a documentary and in 2015 i think it will finally invade dance floors all over in a big way.  (Next month i will be playing the first Vice sponsored Club Jersey party in London – stay tuned)

All about that triplet kick at the end of every 4 bars: the Clave pattern predominant in Afro-Cuban music coming boldly to the fore, rather than subtly hidden or merely suggested, the way it has been in the straight 4/4 of House, Disco, and Funk.  Add a bunch of syncopated off-beat snares, cheeky samples, a mad tactile compositional sense of abrupt drastic changes and stop’n’switch dynamics, infectious Hip Hop, R’n’B, and Pop elements, and an extra dose of bass — Jersey Club is a contender with Kuduro as pretty much the most unadulterated fun and energy possible on the dance floor (and sometimes indeed can be similar to the Angolan sound).  From twerkalicious party bounce, to hyperactive teenage pop euphoria, to maniacal murderous hood darkness, this mix spans a very broad emotional spectrum.

World wide Club Invasion lets go!  #turnup

01 Mr C – Cha Cha Slide (Smoove Rmx)
02 Toy C & Timbah – Mountain Dew (Dj Milktray Rmx)
03 Neana – Agnes (Ni Yna in Ljubijana)
04 Tinashe – Philly Club
05 Tinashe – Philly Club (Dj Tray Remix)
06 Nae Monae – Pretty Girls Smoke Too
07 DJ Diz – Stoner (Nae Nae Anthem)
08 Dougie F & Dj Fire – Back Up On It
09 Dj Kiff – Ca$Hin OuT X Blaqstarr – shake it to the ground
10 Dj Problem – Don Francisco
11 Pol Style, Vin Sol & Matrixxman – MzJackie
12 Animal Youth – Keep Up
13 Connect the Dots – Fuck That Shit (Dj Sliink Rmx)
14 T-Pain – Up Down (Dj Problem Rmx)
15 Dj Problem – C.R.E.A.M.
16 Dj Mike Gip – The Ladies Anthem
17 Toni Romiti DJ Pheonix – Eleciax3 – Bish Whet
18 Blaqstarr – Lemme Hump U
19 Blaqstarr – Feel It In The Air
20 J Forests – Don’t Ask Me
21 ZebraKatz – Ima Read (Dj Sliink Rmx)
22 Dj Diz – Down For My Niggas
23 Dj Morales – Beat That Up (Uniiqu3 ft Dj 93rd Rmx)
24 Brenmar ft. Uniiqu3 – Hey Ladies (Get Up)
25 Rick Ross – Diced Pineapples (Ezrakh’s Jersey Ol’ Head Rmx)
26 Dj Classic – Twerk It
27 L S D X O X O ft. Dj Uniiqu3 – Burn
28 Helix – Bring It Up Down X Blaqstarr – shake it to the ground
29 Dj Tameil – Tek 9 (Uniiqu3 ft Dj Get Em Rmx)
30 Sharaya J – Banji ft. Missy & Jayhood
31 Team Lacey ft. Lexi & Gary Lite – The Real Dj Quan
32 Dj Hoodcore – Phyre
33 Kowton – Dub05
34 Liar – Ha-REM VIP
35 Georgia Girls & Trapdoor – So Seductive
36 Dj Yolo Bear – Bad Bxtches (with Dj Uniiqu3)
37 James Nasty & Dj Lemz – Favorite Bitch (Klan Guru Rmx)
38 Fobator – Cocaine
39 Chris Brown – She Ready (Dj Tim Dolla Rmx)
40 Jeremih – Fuck U All The Time (Dj Sliink Rmx)
41 Trapdoor – Other Room (Mike G Rmx)
42 Future – I Wanna Be With You (Trey & Dj Uniiqu3 Rmx)
43 Dj Tray – Why You Think You’re Fierce
44 Dj Jayhood – Freeze
45 Schoolboy Q – Man of the Year (Dj Irresistible Rmx)
46 Dj K Millz & CeCe – Rock Ya Body
47 Dj Irresistable – Work (Rmx)
48 Young Thug – Danny Glover (Teeburr Rmx)
49 Future Brown – Wanna Party
50 Celestial Trax ft. Lil Flip – Hurt Me
51 2 Chainz ft. Drake – No Lie (Cashmere Cat Edit)

Ngoma Holidays

Next Sunday, Dec. 28th, I will do a set with the mighty Hoodz Dj Team at Wendel Cafe.

and on New Year’s Eve:

ritmo15

Feierabend Poetic Cumbia (Argentina/Berlin)
Latin Swing, Cumbia Wet Dreams

dj zhao (Ngoma Soundsystem – Berlin)
Tropical Bouncement, Fire In Your Pants

A wild wild night of fiery and naughty rhythms to boogie, rumba, swing, polka, waltz, foxtrot, salsa, azonto, dagger, bounce, jerk, twerk, and booty clap into 2015!!!

last weekend was fun:

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 13.03.2710pm – 6am all night hunt for the purrrrfect beat!

JUJUDEATH

JUJU-DEATH2

179 killed by institutional racist violence for the crime of trying to live in the drugs and guns infested poverty that white supremacy keeps them in, during the past 15 years, In NYC alone. How many disabled? In comas? How many with missing lungs or bullets in stomachs? How many broken ribs/arms/legs? How many physically assaulted? Abused in custody? How many terrorized? Humiliated? Incarcerated?

‘There is an unbroken line of police violence in the US that takes us all the way back to the days of slavery’

From state murder and brutality to violent crime in communities which have been structurally marginalized, systematically dispossessed, broadly under privileged, and kept in economic bondage by a series of discriminatory policies designed to do just that, such as Black Codes, Redlining, convict leasing, voter suppressionpredatory bank loans, and the school-to-prison-pipeline, death toll of African Americans, especially young males, is extremely disproportionate.  North American Life expectancy chart:

“Homicide ‘directly affecting’ racial gap in U.S. life expectancy”  

“For black males, homicide decreased life expectancy by almost a year. Heart disease was the most significant cause of death affecting the disparity in life expectancy, but for black males, homicide was number two — ahead of cancer and stroke.

There are “over 700,000 reported violent acts per year involving U.S. youth” (Dr. Robert Gore). The majority of homicides involve youth and young adults between the ages of 10 and 24. In fact, it’s the number one cause of death among black males in this age group. And despite making up just 13 percent of the population, the FBI reports that half of the homicide victims in 2011 were black.”

This is the social context which gives rise to most of the music on this mix.

01 Mark Pritchard – Ghosts
02 Vax – Millenial
03 Know V.A. – Flew
04 More – Self Evident
05 Vybz Kartel – Dem Bwoy
06 Arkaik and Coma – Heat Seeker
07 Arkaik – The Hustle
08 Know V.A. – Donkey Kong
09 Fracture Ft. Dawn Day Night – Get Busy (DLX Rmx)
10 Varg – Lossning I Dimma Kallholmen
11 Pawn – Your Words (Moresounds Rmx)
12 Moresounds – Hour of Doom
13 Addison Groove and Sam Binga – Thr3id
14 Deft – Contrincante VIP
15 The East Flatbush Project – Tried by 12
16 Unknown – My Sound
17 Machinedrum – Gunshotta (Fracture’s Astrophonica Rmx)
18 Zero T – Tavistoc Dub
19 Logistics – Murderation
20 Slick Shoota – Keep Bussin’ (Om Unit Rmx)
21 Ta-Ku – Sprung Broke
22 Fuzzy Logic – Don’t Get Mad
23 Dj Nj – Drone – Mary’s Fave
24 Dj Screwtec & SSK – Keep It Juke
25 Ja Ru – Get Up Off Me
26 Jlin – Battle Trak
27 Dice Beats Muzik – Juke It Nasty
28 Juke Ellington – Crossfire Juke 4
29 Moresounds – Turn In Your Gun
30 La Chat – Dramatize
31 Kill Frenzy – Who Run It (Rmx)
32 Dj Funeral – Last Breakfast
33 Dj Slugo – Hey
34 Staceyann Chin & Matana Roberts – Raise The Roof
35 Dj Boogie – Beetle

Racism: A Basic Diagnosis

(I will tentatively begin to include not directly music related content in this blog.  Because these are topics important to every human, maybe especially lovers of music from the Global South)

Around the globe today, sparked by recent incidents of police murder and brutality in the US, with immigration and refugee issues intensifying along many borders, race and racism is again making headlines, a central topic of discussion across all sections of society, and new spaces have opened up for supplying ourselves with the knowledge and tools to treat this plague of the mind.  But before we can alleviate symptoms, undergo operations, toward healing and restoration, we must first examine its roots, study its nature, and identify precisely what it is not, and what it is.

WHAT IT IS NOT

There have been several recent studies which demonstrate instinctual distrust of faces which look different from our own. The more different the faces, the more distrust:

Antonio Damasio, neurologist and director of the Brain and Creativity Institute, pointed out the former usefulness of associating difference with threat. “Probably, the detection of differences is something that has an old biological history,” he said. “There possibly was a time when it was advantageous to recognize difference very rapidly, because difference might indicate a possibly unfriendly group.”  — Wayne Lewis, Journalist

This has sometimes been called “biological racism”, but there is a serious problem with this label: this instinctual distrust is related to, but needs to be conceived separately from racism as we know it.  Similarly, both xenophobia, the fear of difference, and ethnocentrism, the feeling that one’s own culture is superior, have existed since different groups of humans first came in contact with each other.  Yet while both of these concepts are also related to racism, they are not exactly racism either.

What we understand as race is the belief that the myriad of biological and cultural differences between ethnicities and groups can be summed up in sweeping generalizations, in large categories indicated by superficial physical traits.  What we know as racism is a particular way of classifying humanity on a hierarchical scale from “primitive” to “advanced”, “inferior” to “superior”, according to skin color.

Genetic differences between ethnic groups are biological facts; but there are much more genetic differences between different groups of Africans, than between Africans and Europeans.  What this means is that the way we have recently chosen to define the groups, “the methods with which we subdivide the differences we construe as “racial” characteristics, are subjective, historically and culturally contingent, and arbitrary. In biology there are many different ways to break down “race”, none really more empirical or correct than any other” (Phillip Leckman, Anthropologist).  Thus race as we understand it is like organizing the books in a library not according to subject, language, publishing date, or any other characteristics, but according to the color of the covers, and then declaring that books with blue covers use more refined language than books with red covers, green books are easier to read, purple books contain questionable information, and so on.

The above mentioned three pre-existing social dynamics, instinctual distrust of difference, ethnocentrism, and xenophobia, are commonly confused and conflated with racism; and this common confusion/conflation is one of the best ways to validate racism.  Saying “racism has always existed” is perhaps the best way to normalize and accept this modern disease of the mind, to justify its continued existence, to excuse the pandemic violence, cruelty, and injustice caused by it in today’s world.

Inequality and prejudice did of course exist prior to the modern era, but were primarily distributed along lines of class and culture, and not “race” the way we do.  Skin color was rarely much of a factor at all, but even when skin color was mentioned in ancient history as characteristic of foreigners, it was one sign of difference among many other signs, such as dress or language, and never was a determining basis for the judgement of another.

“Historically it is pretty well proved now that the ancient Greeks and Romans knew nothing about race.  They had another standard—civilised and barbarian—and you could have white skin and be a barbarian and be black and civilised.”  — CLR James

There were examples of practices such as banning of marriage to foreigners in some cultures, but these policies were caused by a great number of reasons, including the afore mentioned xenophobia or ethno-centricity, and not because the foreigners were viewed as belonging to an inferior or less-than-human “race” of people.  

“The Ancients did not fall into the error of biological racism; dark skin was never a sign of inferiority; Greeks and Romans did not establish color as an obstacle to integration in society; and ancient society was one that ‘for all its faults and failures never made skin color the basis for judging a man’  — Roderick Douglas Bush, sociologist and author  

roman_emperor
The Roman emperor Septimius Severus from modern day Libya was almost certainly black

“(Prior to 16th C.) African and Asian peoples constitued notions of distinction based not on skin color but on cultural exchange. (There was) ignorant ethnocentrism and xenophobia… (but) to feel (culturally) superior to someone is not necessarily to hate that person, and it certainly does not ordain that one can then capture, treat as fundamentally inhuman, and utilize that person principllay for labor.” —  Vijay Prashad, historian and author

Another common held false belief is that “slavery is as old as empires”. But this is not entirely true, because the various kinds of slavery practiced in ancient times were very different from the Trans-Atlantic Chattel slavery of the modern age in many ways, including ethnicity not being at all a factor. Again from Vijay Prashad:

“Despite evidence of enslavement in ancient times, it is clear, however, that the premodern mode of production was not based on slave labor (as was the Atlantic economy of the colonial era), nor was the sort of slavery practiced based upon the dehumanization of particular groups of people […]  The Chinese enslaved mostly other Chinese, Arabs other Arabs, etc.  Premodern slavery was sometimes brutal, (but besides war-captives) but just as common was a form of apprenticeship in which slaves learnt a trade and then later earned their freedom. […] The practice of slavery was often in the form of debt bondage; and slaves became free once again after the debt was paid.  In fact ‘Slavery was often used as a means of creating fictive ties of kinship” (like marriage).”

WHAT IT IS

The aspect of racism in our times which distinguishes it from injustice of the past is the idea that there are distinct physical and behavioral traits arising from genetic difference between 3 or 4 major “races”, and that is grounds for systematic discrimination.  This doctrine enables dehumanization along artificially manufactured racial lines, in which entire ethnicities are viewed as “inferior” and “less than human” based on skin-color, and thus justified to use and treat like farm animals.  (the absurdity of “white”, “black”, “yellow” as distinct categories is highlighted by the following image: even people from the same geographic location are of an infinite number of shades)

race‘humanae’ — Pantone skin color spectrum chart by Angelica Dass

“Slavery was not born of racism—rather, racism was the consequence of slavery.” — Eric Williams, historian

This pseudo-scientific system of categorization based on skin color was created less than 500 years ago, during the process of European colonization, with the specific purpose of dehumanizing entire populations which happened to have less effective weapons at the time.  The method with which racism typecasts difference is a phenomenon entirely unique to the modern era, beginning in late 17th Century North America.  The idea that people of European descent were of the “white race”, and that they were genetically superior to the “black race” of African descendants, who were not really human, was invented specifically to create disunity among the underclasses (who previously stood together against the elites), and facilitate their economic exploitation.  The poor white indentured servants whose existence was not very different from that of slaves now felt an affinity with their white masters because of supposed “racial alliance”, and class antagonism was diverted: since the beginning racism has been used not only as a rationale for oppression, but also as a theater of distraction from class inequality.  

The next thing the politicians did sealed the deal: they paid poor whites a bounty for runaway slaves, and often made them overseers for slaves, turning every poor white in America into a prison guard against the people who had once been their neighbors and allies.”  Quinn Norton, Journalist (from How White People Got Made)

“The hostility between the whites and blacks of the [US] South is easily explained. It has its root and sap in the relation of slavery, and was incited on both sides by the poor whites and blacks by putting enmity between them. They divided both to conquer each.” — Frederick Douglass, anti-slavery campaigner 

European colonists of the 1600s explained the difference in technological development on the various continents not as the consequence of varied fundamental material conditions over time, but rather as expression of “racial difference”.  Early 20th Century capitalists explained poverty, unemployment, and crime as not the result of societal dysfunction, but rather as genetic deficiency within the individuals, which led to the annual sterilization of hundreds of thousands of poor women in NYC until the 1930s (the Nazis would later learn much from these practices of Eugenics).  Similarly, contemporary race theories and racist pseudo-science comprise of distortions of the theory of natural selection and the false attribution of cultural and economic differences to biological ones.  To the racial “scientists” of today black people are poor not because of systematic marginalization from a series of discriminatory and oppressive policies since abolition such as Black Codes, Redlining, convict leasing, voter suppression, racially charged predatory bank loans, and the school-to-prison-pipeline, but because “African descendants are inherently lazy and less intelligent” (see the 1994 best seller and hugely influential The Bell Curve, which argues that “human intelligence is […] a better predictor of […] financial income, job performance, birth out of wedlock, and involvement in crime than are an individual’s parental socioeconomic status, or education level.”  They also basically say that the elites should rule over all because they are more intelligent than the average population.)

Yes, there is just as much popular racist pseudo-science today as ever — another good example being this 2014 article by Nicholas Wade, the former science editor of the New York Times, published by Time Magazine. Wade’s basic ideas here are that human evolution continued during the past 30,000 years, after various large groups settled in different climates and conditions, and thus indeed took different evolutionary paths, both culturally and biologically.  In his premise Wade has set up enormous straw-men, such as the proponents of “race-doesn’t-exist” claiming that genetic differences do not exist, or that evolution of humans ever stopped.  In fact no legitimate social scientists today believe either of these clearly absurd notions, if any ever have.  The “take downs” of these straw-men which follow are extremely hollow, but surely sounds great to advocates of race (and racism).  As if this wasn’t enough, Mr. Wade is mired in all kinds of ahistorical falsity and racist distortion, such as the cause of conflict in the Middle East (they have not evolved out of tribalism!), and what made the wonderful wonders of the Industrial Revolution possible (Europeans evolved to a higher level of organization!)   It is chilling, to say the least, to realize that these ideas are apparently taken seriously today, even in some so-called “scientific” circles, and considering who presented them, and endorsed by which publication.  (another, more in depth take-down of Wade’s work here)

Certainly inequality and oppression is as old as civilization itself, but what we have seen in the last few hundred years is the dynamics and processes of injustice mechanized, streamlined, systematized, and more efficiently administered on an exponentially expanded scale, enabled by the invention of race and racism.  In fact a very solid case can be made for racism being the central ideological engine behind the building of the modern world, based on analysis of the central role of chattel slavery in the establishment of industrial capitalism.  The root disease of power, hierarchy, and subjugation has existed for 10,000 years, but racism is thus far the most powerful and deadly strain.

Dj Zhao, December 2014

NGOMA Classic 3 – Mega Benga

KENYA COVER

The climate in Nairobi is cool and perfect all year round, despite being on the equator, due to its high altitude. The East African Rumba sound is also often cooler, sans the fiery horn sections of Congolese Soukous.  The focus here is on a reduced palette of rhythmic guitar and vocal refrains over driving, insistent 4 on the floor kicks.  The motorik, hypnotic motifs and modular progression of this original minimalist dance music here is mostly from 1950s to 1970s, and i play it in the seamless style of techno.

There is a lot more going on here than the predominantly Luo popular style known as Benga: also golden classics from the Kikuyu, Kamba, Luhya, and other tribes of Kenya. Grooves so sweet they ache the heart as they move the feet… Sounds difficult if not impossible to find outside of East Africa.

In the words of Osumba Rateng, a master Benga musician, from Benga: The best of cultural integration, by James Allen and SingingWells:

“I started playing music in school, and I had a cousin, Aoka Meja, who had a guitar. We copied the style of Adero Onani, who played traditional music on the guitar. In 1958, I got my first acoustic guitar and played Rumba. In 1965, I started to play Benga.

Benga was influenced by the beat of the nyatiti, and we interpreted that on the guitar. We also borrowed from the orutu, which followed the voice of the singer … I formed Sega Sega, and we … did a huge amount of studio work. And as Benga became popular, the three of us played on a lot of other people’s songs. This meant that our Luo sound was getting on a lot of records. The early ‘60’s was mostly about studio work, but by ’70 to ’71, when Benga was really at its peak, the Sega Sega band was very big. We were always performing at events and functions. We did okay, and I made enough to buy my farm and build the house in which I still live . . .”

and the following is from the liner notes of “D.O. MISIANI and SHIRATI JAZZ, THE KING OF HISTORY, CLASSIC 1970S BENGA BEATS FROM KENYA” (Sterns Music):

“Guitars had started gaining popularity in Kenya in the 1950s and it wasn’t long before Benga started taking form in the Luo speaking areas surrounding Lake Victoria in the early 60s. Misiani (commonly known as the “King of HIstory” and father of Benga, whose band is also on the cover of this mix – Zhao) was actually born across Kenya’s southern border in Tanganyika in 1940 in the Luo community of Shirati. His earliest years as a musician brought him numerous clashes with uthority and several escapes to safer ground to avoid punishment. It seems he and his music were very popular with schoolgirls and young women, but the parents weren’t too keen on his seductive love songs and the authorities didn’t appreciate the fights among the young men over the girls. Misiani recounted several times that his guitars were seized and smashed, and that he had to leave the village quickly. He would disappear for a while, wait for things to settle down and then return.

The songs of the early 70s have a lighter percussion with the beat kept by tapping on the rim of a snare drum. They also mastered a rhythmic clicking sound using the electric guitar pick-up that is heard in a number of pieces. From about 1976 this sound changes with the use of a full drum kit and the deeper sound of the kick drum, with now the high hat receiving most of the attention from the drummer’s sticks. The saxophone heard in some of the earlier songs is gone. By the late 70s, we’re into the mature benga sound exemplified by ‘Wang Ni To Iringo’ that propelled benga through the 80s and into the 90s.

Misiani was a composer without fear in an environment that threatened free speech and critical thought. In his early years, it was his love songs in his home village that had got him in trouble, and in the Shirati Jazz years (essentially the rest of his life after leaving the village), he was known for biting commentary on Kenya’s political, social, and economic institutions. However such criticism was never direct. His songs convey meaning at a deeper level. He would use a theme such as a verse or parable in the Bible, a piece of African history, a prophecy, or an animal fable that would allow listeners to draw a meaning relevant to the current events of the day. Periodically, when one of his songs could be interpreted as presenting the government or a politician in an unflattering way, the authorities would pick up Misiani and take him off to jail. At one point he was deported to Tanzania. Another time he was arrested – though not convicted – of being an illegal Tanzanian immigrant. Nairobi’s Nation newspaper quotes him in 2006 as saying: “Tell me, is there anything wrong with singing about what’s going wrong in our society? I just sing about what is happening and if some people are not happy, I can do little about it.” It is in this arena, I think, where Misiani really merits his King of History title. With its multiple layers of meaning, it accurately portrays both the status and the mechanism by which he achieved that status: keep it sweet, keep it entertaining but, at all times, keep it relevant.”

These tracks came from many different sources, sorry for lack of artist and title for some:

01 Kakai Kilonzo & Les Kilmambogo – Kilinga Munguti
02 Kakai Kilonzo & Les Kilmambogo – Ngungu Na Muol
03 Les Kilmambogo – Serah Ngungembeti
04 Kakai Kilonzo & Les Kilmambogo – Mutwawa Niwatwawa
05 Ken Wa Maria – Unknown
06 Ken Wa Maria – Unknown
07 Unknown Kamba Song
08 Ken Wa Maria – Syaamba Kala
09 Ken Wa Maria – Kuu Ni Ilovi
10 Unknown Kikuyu Song 1
11 Unknown Kikuyu Song 2
12 Unknown Kikuyu Song 3
13 Osito – Jehova Kings
14 George Ramogi – Unknown
15 Owino Misiani & Shirati Jazz – Piny Ose Mer
16 (Luo) Emily Makaya – Fagilia To Ipar Odi
17 Elisha Nyarugenya – Mazadijo
18 Princess Julie – Dunia Mbaya
19 Princess Julie – Unknown
20 (Luhya) Misiko – Come We Stay
21 Misiko – Khubekha Mukhali
22 Unknown – Unknown
23 Unknown (Mukunguni) – Pepo Mlume
24 Kapere Jazz Band – Lando Nyajomere
25 Jacob Omolo – Ogwang Lelo Okoth
26 Owiny Sigoma Band – Nyiduonge Drums
27 Kalambia Sisters – Katilina

The Merkolator

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 19.59.51

Jack is building a new council estate House in East London.

01 Kowton – Stasis
02 Boddika & Joy Orbison – Tricky’s Team
03 Daphni & Owen Pallett – Julia
04 Fish – Merk U
05 Joonipah – Gut Feeling
06 Boddika – Soul What (Rmx)
07 Artifact – Exist
08 X5 Dubz – Shapes
09 Boodika & Joy Orbison – Swims
10 Indigo – Aradia
11 Nativ – Breathe
12 Wen – Swingin’ (LDN mix)
13 Detboi – Focus
14 Charlux – Unmarked Patrol
15 Volac – My Crew
16 Volac – Hips Don’t Lie (Sammy W & Alex E Rmx)
17 Emeskay – Searchin (Zoltan Kontes Rmx)
18 2ndcity – I’ll Tell You
19 Ko Kane – Rockin’ With The Best
20 Ill Phil & Lorenzo – Jump Around
21 Ill Phil & Lorenzo feat. MC Sim – It’s Getting Hectic
22 Majestic – Lets Go Back (Cause N Affect Mix)
23 Lockhart – Get Down (Busta)
24 Flava D – In The Dance
25 Formula – Hoods & Bass
26 Jook 10 – Strike
27 Icicle – Final Master
28 Dj Deeon – Titties And Ass
29 Sky Cell – Foam Feathers

MUTANT 3

mutant3

From Luanda to New Jersey, from Johannesburg to London, from Kingston to Berlin: indigenous drums and high tech sound fuse in the club. Ancestral beats and diasporic voices thrive on inner city streets. Meta-rhythms and mega-bass erasing borders, connecting dots, and making your booty work overtime.
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NGOMA SOUND SYSTEM (Ngoma Sound // Berlin)

cosmic06

A hybrid musical entity made of dj and live instrumentation consisting of 2, 3, 4, or 5 members, fusing ancestral rhythms, acoustic textures, and urban bass pressure. Drawing from both the wealth of African sonic traditions as well as up-to-the-minute street sounds worldwide, NGOMA Soundsystem exists in the tension between electronic composition and live improvisation.
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To warm up the night, we have a very special light/dance/music live performance by a very cool artist, starting at 10pm sharp: SILVER

Silver-05 © Victor Roy

INFINITE LIVEZ (Ninja Tune / Exotic Pylon // London / Berlin)

Is a former FKO Raw freestyle battle champ. Released his first album (Bushmeat) in 2004 on Big Dada records, second album in 2007 as a collaborative project with the Swiss electro jazz outfit Stade (Art Brut Fe De Yoot). Has worked with producers such as Blufoot, M3 and Part 2. Puts out his own improvised noise CDs. Has reoccurring dreams of the end of the world.
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MARCEL (TropicFusion // Berlin)

Diligently studying the art of percussion in many African and Afro-diasporic traditions such as Brazillian, Latin, and Middle Eastern since an early age, Germany born Marcel has over the years combined various bodies of knowledge into a dexterous and multi-faceted live drumming style rich with invention and nuance. Guided by a passion for and knowledge of both Afro-Caribbean and Electronic music history, Marcel is the resident percussionist of NGOMA Soundsystem.

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DJ ZHAO (Ngoma // Beijing / Los Angeles)

An amateur musicologist and professional booty shaker, Dj Zhao brings a poly-cultural understanding of rhythm to his deeply percussive sets. Wildly disparate timess, place, and styles are often connected by an artful sense of composition and mixing technique. Revealing the ancient rhythm roots of the latest and sickest electronic and bass sounds, as well as showcasing the sweetest and heaviest dance music from all over the globe, Dj Zhao creates unique and exhilarating dance floor experiences at once mind expanding and dance-floor exploding.
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FUTURISMO (Futurisms / Cheap Acid // Berlin)

A dimension-hopping traveler, circumventing cosmic turbunlances, collecting audio frequencies and rhythms funky on an intergalactic scale. Futurismo is a DJ, in every sense of the word, bringing things along the mutant techno, juke-jungle, UK Bass and acid lines, scornfully jumping across genre borders.