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Expanding the boundaries of club music, CLUBLAB explores borderless poly-rhythms and infinite bass, and investigates the fragmented soul of the polymorphous planetary underground.

in the Function-One equipped cave of our favorite Kreuz-Koln dive we swim in the most crucial vibes of today and tomorrow: Chicago, London, Joburg, Jersey, Luanda, Berlin.

Bass, Juke, Club, Jungle, Acid, House, Kuduro, Dub.


Words (Futurisms, Berlin)
dj zhao (NgomaSound, BeiJing)
Special Guests (Surprise)

Friday // July 24 // 11:00pm
Normal Bar // Forsterstrasse 46, 10999 Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany

FREE before midnight

Working Links / Afro House Xperience / Fusion Photos

Big thanks to all who have generously donated toward getting the Soundcloud back up, but i will need a bit more time…  Soon hopefully!  In the mean time, I’ve updated all the posts with working Mixcloud streaming and download links.  Let me know if i missed any!

This Friday is the AFRO HOUSE XPERIENCE! we will bring the freshest, funkiest electronic music from the Motherland! (I don’t even like calling it “house” because in terms of form most of it doesn’t actually have much to do with Chicago at all — much more polyrhythmic and groovetastische)AfroHaus

And Fusion was as epic freaky fun as ever!  (but this year seemed to feature even more music from the global south).  P1040959 1658263_10153027829528546_3259819137898563999_oP1040962P1040979R P1040994Q P1040972

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 – 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.



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.

NGOMA SOUND SYSTEM (Ngoma Sound // Berlin)


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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

MUTANT2 – 30 August

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Industrial nightmares and Shamanic visions collide in the club. Ancestral voices bleed through grids of the city. Diasporic sounds and mutant rhythms transformed by migrant movement, shaped by history. Fragmented Psychotropic Bass pulsating through the deepest valleys and highest crests of your mind, in the kaleidoscopic center of the omni-verse.  RSVP on fb

Like the panel last time with Dj Ripley and dj zhao, this time we are excited to bring you Stef Meaow, an anthropologist who has done extensive field work in Angola and Portugal, on the music we love to death called Kuduro. Also, Roi Rocky the Tropikal Camel will be addresing many strands of middle eastern music and culture and their socio-political meaning, from Israel to Palestine to Turkey to Kurdistan to Morrocco. Dj Zhao will be moderating and give some additional fun facts about the central cultural heritage of our species, rhythm, and how they can make the world a better place.

INTI CHE LIVE (Konn Recordings / Buenos Aires)

Intiche is well known by his Electro-Nativo music style, a fusion of electronic sounds: Tribal, Trance, Electro, Nu-Cumbia, Dub, and Native, taking you into the jungles, mountains and seas of sounds from south, central and north america.

TROPIKAL KAMEL LIVE (Future Roots / Jeruselem)

Middle Eastern and North African roots fused with 21st century Basstronics, creating a mixture between hypnotic rhythms, Arabic samples, and deep tribal atmosphere.

(Grautag Records / Ngoma / Palestine / Berlin

Mutoid mysticism, psychedelic ambiant, and anxious landscapes. Heat wave, half coma, intensity, and distant roots. Dusty landscape on the Terminal beach, shadows of dancers on the wall, snake charming computers, the Fata morgana become oil wells on fire.

DJ ZHAO (Ngoma / Beijing)

Born in Beijing and based in Berlin with a background in Sound Art and Avant Techno, Dj Zhao is an amateur musicologist and professional booty shaker, bringing the best contemporary and classic dance music together from wildly different times and places, focusing on Africa.


MUTANT 04.July @Urban Spree

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From 4 corners of the world come 4 mutants that have evolved in different ways but on the same path of poly-rhythmic bass, meeting on this night in Berlin to examine various MUTANT sonics, and create oceans deep, tornados strong vibes without borders that will rearrange the DNA of human kind for ever.

Why do various modern beats sound the way they do? How are they still unmistakably connected to ancient rhythmic roots? How did we get from slave songs to “untz untz” club music? In what ways have identities and cultures been forever changed with various waves of globalization? These are a few of the many questions surrounding MUTANT musical culture the first part of the evening will address.

From Tribal Guarachero to Techno, from Juke/Footwork to Kuduro, from Dancehall to Jungle — during the second part of the night 4 MUTANT Djs will sonically demonstrate deep genetic axis of rhythm which connects various bodies of music, while rocking the dance floor with some of the most advanced and innovative dance music in 2014.


21h – 00h talks by Dj Ripley and Dj Zhao

Dj Ripley – “From Jamaica to di World! Musical Identity in a Globally Networked Context” 

Dj Zhao – “Rhythmic Mutation and the Evolution of Contemporary Dance and Pop Music”

Panel Discussion / conversations.

00h – MUSIC


Dj Ripley (Dutty Arts / NYC)

mixes music to highlight difference rather than seamlessness. Pulling out familiar songs and sounds from people’s childhood or community, layering them with foreign, distant sounds to make the familiar strange and the strange familiar. Music exists because it crosses borders, literally and figuratively. Physical borders: eardrums, walls, and legal borders: nations, zones. Her main goal is challenge the assumption that difference breeds division and distrust – instead, difference, rupture, foreign-ness is a site of conscious, open-eyed and physical pleasure.


Rafael Aragon (Latino Resiste/Paris)

Rafael Aragón is a latin/arabic rooted musician / dj / composer / producer making mainly club oriented, heavy bass music, yet delicate, maximalist and highly psychedelic. Sweaty dancefloor killers and soulful, enlightened anthems to cheer up and enjoy the beauty of life. With a very special, magic touch inspired by the ancient traditions of shamanism from all around the world. Mystic chimes, ritual drums and witchcraft incantations meet club kicks, filthy basslines and electronic batucada to provide a rich, dancy and psychedelic music for hips and ears!

!! NEW ALBUM dropping on Latino Resiste on july 2nd!! feat. Zee Reach, Ckrono & Slesh, El Malito, Kosta Kostov & many more…


dj zhao (Ngoma Sound / Beijing / Berlin)

brings the best contemporary and classic dance music together from wildly different times and places. Informed of up-to-the-minute global styles from Angolan House to Chicago Juke, and with a deep sense of musical history, Dj Zhao infuses his sets with a deep sense of polyrhythms, whether playing techno at Berghain or Afro-Bass at a tropical event. Fusing ancestral rhythms and urban electronics, Dj Zhao is a poly-cultural ambassador of boom connecting “East” and “West”, acoustic and electronic, traditional and modern.


Futurismo (Futurisms / Jerusalem / Berlin)

is a dreamer. Born and raised in the city of god (Jerusalem) he moved to the city of godlessness (Berlin) while floating on weird sound frequencies. He fuses together electronic sounds – Acid / Bass / Techno / DnB / UK Garage being just a few of the genres he drops into meshes of rhythms and basslines. He’s been running the Futurisms and Cheap Acid nights in the heart of Berlin’s Neukölln district. Futurismo has no soul, but he can dance. Ask him nicely and he will show you how.


JUJUJUKE 3 + Traslacion

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From Chicago to Berlin, from Luanda to London, JUJUJUKE 3 brings you up to the minute meta rhythms and mega bass.


NANGDO (Weboogie/Tomcrew)

DJ and producer Nangdo is channeling the soul of South Side Chicago and making some of the most true-school juke and footwork in Berlin. A true music addict: he has been dj’ing and collecting hundreds and hundreds of records for over ten years now. Also, he created tons of beats in the past eight years. For Nangdo, his productions are all about chopping up sounds of seventies soul, break beats, hip hop ‘or whatever stuff.’
Luc Masera (Antibling/Kick Snare)

With versatile sets Luc has played in nearly every Club of Berlin. His first London Trip inspired him so much, that he changed from Minimal-Techno to all kinds of UK Bass. In 2011 he and four other guys from Berlin Massive started the monthly Antibling : Promassive Party which is today Berlins Filthiest Dubstep Party. Antibling brought Luc Masera to Paris, Switzerland, Bombay, Sao Paulo and to a lot of German Citys and everwhere he plays, he is looking for new inspirations for his DJ Sets.


This time, for the first hour of the night, from 12 – 1am, there will be a very special program of improvised and live sound and video art collaboration between artists in Buenos Aires and Berlin. Dj Zhao will be in a duo with Hidhawk, weaving a strange and transporting tapestry of tape loops, voices from the ether, and ghosts in machines, in real time:




This how we voodoo, this how we juju:
From Chicago to East London, from Jersey to Berlin, Juju-Juke brings true school rhythm and bass.

Joining us for the first time: Cool Hand Luke straight from Brooklyn will bring true underground club sounds from New Jersey, in addition to the Chicago Tek Life vibes; Congolese/French MC Carmel Zoum will deliver fiery verses on the mic; and Berlin’s own NGHT DRPS wil drp crucial new school bass and footwork.

NGOMA Sound feat. MC Carmel Zoum
NGHT DRPS (Through My Speakers – Berlin)
Cool Hand Luke (Hot Crew 57 – NYC/Chicago)
Dj Zhao (Ngoma Sound – Beijing/Berlin)

at the quality Panke club:



From Soweto to Chicago, from Jakarta to Paris,
from Lagos to London, from Conakry to Berlin.

JUJUJUKE 2 - JUJULIFE by Djzhao on Mixcloud


01 Tshetsha Boys – Tsekeleke Instrumental X Traxman – Geto Djz
02 Tshetsha Boys – Hi Lavaya X Dj Rashad – Get Down On the Floor
03 Thug Entrancer – Death After Life X Ground Mass Lyer – Syncopate
04 LiL JaBBa – CoLLiSioN
05 Sonido Berzerk – Blitz
06 M’bemba Bangoura – Kirin X 101 Juke
07 Le Motel – 45º34º50º – Pygmy Juke
08 Digi – Trwick
09 Digi – Black Therapy
10 Batåk – Alu-Alu Tu Mula Jadi Na Bolon X Dj Roc – Drop My Back
11 Baglady – Rockoff (Bigote Remix) X Vtgnike – Hi Fashion
12 Jumping Back Slash – Number One Big Big
13 Le Motel – 45º34º50º – Right Business
14 Ital Tek – Ultra
15 Cedaa – Zoom
16 Kode 9 – Xingfu Lu
17 Subp Yao – Dat Thing
18 Romare – I wanna Go (Turn Back)
19 Blind prophet – Ease Up (Original Mix)
20 Radar Bird – 3 O’Clock
21 Romare – Your Love (You Give Me Fever)
22 Naked Werewolf – #TheFangs
23 Dj Rashad – Deep Inside
24 Flo Rida – Get Low (Juked by Dj Nehpets)
25 EQ Why – Ghetto Booty 773 (Original Mix)
26 Dj Spinn – Fall Back
27 Tiyiselani Vomaseve – Se Naxaniseka X Dj Rashad – Hands In the Air
28 Mister Ries – The Near Future
29 Dj Rashad, MoonDoctoR & FreshtillDef – Ethno
30 Doctor Jeep – Golden Eye (Original Mix)
31 Sorie Kondi – Yalimamy
32 George Maluleke – Rioheli



NOZINJA (Warp Records / South Africa) — live
DJ Zhao (Ngoma Sound)
and the LEISURE SYSTEM Crew 

8pm till late / friday night party style
Urban Spree – Revaler Str. 99 (corner Warschauer Str. x Revaler Str.), 10245 Berlin

Nozinja is the South African artist, producer and DJ who has masterminded a 21st century reboot of indigenous folk tradition, Tsonga disco, kwaito and house to create the Afro-futurist dance music dubbed ‘Shangaan Electro’. It’s a sound that has spread way beyond the famous street parties he organises to inspire dancefloors worldwide with its rapid fire rhythms, soulful vocal edits and infectious swing. Fresh off the back of recent touring with Shangaan Electro, now is the moment for the man behind it all to enter the spotlight with his debut album on a Western label plus a brand new Nozinja live show forthcoming.

Nozinja has toured extensively with Shangaan Electro, performing scene-stealing turns at Sonar, Roskilde and Sydney festivals alongside club sessions at the Berghain. Most recently he has curated a festival line up at Paris’s La Gaite Lyrique, devised special dance workshops for all ages and launched his own Nozinja Lodge club night in Dalston.

It was not a BAD party…  :)

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Out in the streets Out in the streets Out in the streets Out in the streets…
From South Chicago to East London, from Detroit to Berlin, Dj Zhao and friends bring Polyrhythmic Bass Pressure connecting Footwork, Jungle, GhettoTech, and Drum’n’Bass.
Fuck the future, this shit is NOW.

Friday, April 25, 11:00pm
FRIDAY: Panke Gerichtstraße 23, 13347 Berlin, Germany // RSVP HERE
Kepler (Sick Girls, Berlin)

A much revered staple as part of Berlin’s rebel bass crew Sick Girls, Kepler has been defying convention, shaking clubbers out of comfort zones, and kicking major booty since you was in kindergarten. Footwork, Grime, Bass, combined with Gangsta Rap, D’n’B and Digi-Dancehall, Kepler drops all varieties of bass heavy musics with a signature sound: sick style!
Kid Kameleon (Surya Dub, Thump, San Francisco/Berlin)

a Berlin-based performer pushing an eclectic mix of genre-defying bass music, his signature sound is filled with wild and complex drum patterns, head-nodding beats that range from smooth to stuttering, heavy bass and full spectrum synths that tug at your heartstrings.
Dj Zhao (NgomaSound, Beijing/Berlin)

Ancient Futurist Rhythm Ambassador Dj Zhao approaches 21st century urban sonics with a timeless sense of Afro-centric polyrhythms. Connecting diasporic bass and motherland juju, Dj Zhao’s selections and edits fuse wildly different times/places as they murder the dance floor.
Ghettozoid (One4Ho, Houndstooth, UK/Berlin)

Wild style shape shifting feral child of the streets, Ghettozoid switches between London and Berlin, freaks the sub woofers like it ain’t no thang, and drops ill beats as she makes yo mama’s butt work overtime.


SATURDAY:  I will rock this real Berlin underground party in a secret location :)

Der Frühling ist da , der Aufstand kommt und wir bewaffnen uns wieder und laden euch ein, mit uns Spatzen nach den Kanonen zu werfen und einen Tanz um den Aprilbaum zu machen. Die ehrlichste Sonne scheint nachts und den freundlichsten Hormonrausch kriegt man mit scharfen Waffen. Also betreten Sie mit uns den Garten der Unsinne, wo die Neurosen zertreten und der Rasen ruiniert wird. Denn Tanzen ist, wenn beide Füße vom Boden kommen ! Garantiert verantwortungslos und genehmigungsfrei. Freshes Frühlingsgeklopfe aus der Schiessbudegärtnerei. Dieses fachkundige Gartenbaupersonal bringt Sie in den Mutterboden:

DJ Zhao ::::::::: Orchideenorchester & Rosenmusik
2kn ::::::::::::::::: Tiefdrucktulpen & Tiefdruckdreck
Mari Mar ::::::: Hartlaubwalzer & Palmenbeat
Mätjes ::::::::::: Stachelbeerentechno
Jony Pony ::::: Frühlingszwiebelsingsang & Krokus-Hop

Damit der Spass auch Ernst macht, gibt es wieder den “Shoot Your Own”-Schiesstand, betreut vom Drunken-Minors-Antikonfliktteam. Drücken Sie ihre Gefühle aus und drücken Sie mal ab. Wer nicht wackelt, gewinnt und die Underdogs dürfen auch zweimal.

location will be released to our mailing system shortly before the event. Register here. 

  Psssscht! Nicht weitersagen.

New Years Eve will be HOT HOT HOT



I will be manning the Afro house / Global Bass floor alongside Marflix.  Going to get KERRRRR-AZAAAAY!!!!!!1459705_446752322093670_1474632164_n

get tickets NOW as they’re going fast!


and on the 3rd of January NGOMA SOUND SYSTEM will be delivering that sweet boogie live afro-electro sound:

Tropical Timewarp Ngoma

Concert reviews: Jagwa, Ebo Taylor, Jaliba Kuyateh, Antibalas

Berlin has been blessed this Fall/winter with many truly amazing out of this world vibes from the motherland and diaspora.  Here are some brief personal accounts: Image

Jagwa Music: flux power trance vibration from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, playing a style of music with Chakacha roots known as Mchiriku, in Ritter Butzke, to a well attended but not packed house — Simply the most mathematically advanced and spiritually evolved music on earth in 2012.  4 percussionists produces robust, intricate, lattice work of dizzying interlocking rhythms: bass drum powerfully driving with the force of a monsoon, but no steady kicks, instead coming in unpredictable yet intuitive waves of intense clusters; smaller drums bang out unfathomably complex patterns not easily recognizable yet infinitely swinging — constantly changing yet always staying the same.  1 keys player emits sonorous sustained tones from a little keyboard, dexterous and serpentine, sounding somewhere between a church organ and Acid Mother’s Temple.  On top of it all is the singing/yelping of the vocalist, the very embodiment of defiant ecstatic energy.  Fierce and urgent: we have no time to waste, and must transcend tedious quotidian planes of existence NOW, simultaneously feeling the moments of this reality with more intensity.  I talked 2 random guys standing outside asking “what kind of music is it?” into coming in, and they were jumping and getting soaked in sweat with me in the very front for the entire show, and then bought CDs after.  The skill, beauty, energy and sheer spirit of this music is undeniable to anyone, with specialized tastes or not.  They do have slower songs too but the expression “Ape-Shit” would be an understatement in describing my behavior during some parts of the evening…  Now my other all time favorite live band in the history of the universe, besides Konono No. 1: Jagwa Music Rocks harder than Rock, is Funkier than Funk, and more danceable than dance music.

ImageLegendary Highlife guitarist Ebo Taylor from Ghana and his band Afrobeat Acadamy played to a packed house in Kater Holzig.  Not as typically classic Ghanaian High Life as i would have preferred, but this timeless polyrhythmic West African funk was of course irresistible.  With the horn section not as in your face as with some other bands, and the guitars taking a more important role, the music is sweet as it is funky with a sensuous groove.  A band like this, playing 70s African styles sells out big stages in Paris and medium ones in Berlin: this means western audiences need 30 to 40 years to catch up to Africa.  So at this rate, by 2040 or 2050 Jagwa will be rocking the kind of huge crowds in Europe they should be doing right now – when band members are in their 70s.

photo by DJ Matar

Complex, masterful, and deeply funky music not pandering to simplistic Western tastes and not sanctioned by the hipster elite: Jaliba “King of Kora” Kuyateh and his awesome 8 piece Mbalax band from Senegal played for 50 local Gambian and Senegalise expats in a classroom of a Turkish community center, complete with unstable florescent lights: either super bright like in a super market, or plunging the room in total darkness.  Beautiful, stately, and sublime performance despite bad conditions and technical difficulties: in a just world this concert would have been in Staatsoper Unter den Linden (state opera house).Jaliba comes from the Mande tradition but has updated the sound to include a drum set, and bass guitars, making a fusion type of music which is to be sure primarily Senegalise, but sometimes with a touch of reggae and funk influence.  As each tune gets going, the culturally attired audience would, according to tradition, all get up off of their seats to make US dollar bills rain on the musicians, and sometimes sticking them into the man’s Kora as he is playing it (see photo above).

These behaviors which to the uneducated Western eye perhaps seem strange or even respectless and characteristic of low-class entertainment (strip clubs come to mind), are of course signs from a vastly complex and nuanced tradition which date all the way back to the Malian Empire of the 14th Century.  Curious about the Griots’ art and tradition, i am reading the book Griots at War: Conflict, Conciliation, and Caste in Mande, by i think the only Western person to ever become accepted as a Griot in Mali.  The entire volume of her fascinating experiences which tell of an ancient culture and its interwoven socio-political as well as artistic aspects is downloadable in E-book form here.

Sunday night at Bi Nuu, Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra played a largely secret last show of a European tour.  Their take of Afrobeat is much more angular, rigid, and rawkus compared to Ebo Taylor’s band, and making often use of the 1-2 duple rhythm as one would expect from North America. Intensely political, with lyrics about the global prison state of mind and other forms of pandemic oppression, the music is fast and fiery.  The sound guy was mixing them as a rock band, with the Congas barely even audible until i actually requested to him that they be turned up louder…  This music seems to fill and struggle against the very boundaries, limitations and framework of the genre, so tight as to leave no breathing space, imbuing a sense of claustrophobia as well as anxiety and frustration, which is appropriate for the subject matter of the songs.