Sound of Berlin meets Rhythms of the mother continent: NGOMA envisions dance music of a future society that we would want our grand children to live in. Imagining a decolonized polycultural drum machine constructed from the plurality of our various life experiences and multiple sonic perspectives, NGOMA fuses the best of many worlds for maximum mind expansion, soul elevation, and body intoxication.
There are African histories of egalitarianism and democracy independent of, and predating, modern Western progressive movements. It is time we revived them from systematic displacement and erasure, because they may hold the key to our collective future.
contemporary Northern Ghanaians holding council. Photo courtesy of Marc Becker
An epiphany of cosmic proportions dawned upon me during a taxi ride from Kampala International airport to the city last year. My incidental travel companion was the Ugandan film maker Dolman Dila; and in his unhurried, quiet, and measured tone, this is what he said:
“Of the 53 major “nations“ in the region today known as Uganda (name arbitrarily taken from one of them, Luganda, by the British), only 10 featured any kind of hierarchical political structure. The majority of them, with population size from 1 to 3 million, lived in entirely egalitarian organizations, voluntary cooperatives, and share/gift economies, without centralized political power, high levels of inequality, or warfare. For instance, Acholi, the 2nd largest society in Uganda, lived in communal, collaborative, and mutualistic arrangements. In these societies elders and experts were respected, and held influence, but did not have exclusive decision making power over others. In fact, the people of these societies having almost entirely no concept of power, control, domination, and subjugation was a significant factor for the ease with which Europeans conquered these lands. When an Englishmen said to them „I will rule this territory from now on“, they probably looked at each other, shrugged, and with such trust toward their fellow men, as strangely dressed as these were, said something like: “We don’t know exactly what that means, but why not, it should be fine.‘“
Familiar club sounds of Berlin meets the Drum Sciences of the mother continent: NGOMA presents dance music of a future society that we would want our grand children to live in. Imagining a decolonized polycultural rhythm machine constructed from the plurality of our various life experiences, multiple sonic perspectives distilled, NGOMA fuses the best of many worlds for maximum mind expansion, soul elevation, and body intoxication.
A few dopetastische events coming up, some even in Berlin!
06.10 Musik & Frieden, Berlin
06.25 Watergate, Berlin
07.01 ACUD, Berlin
07.08 TBA, Barcelona
07.10 Manglar, Madrid
09.03 NyegeNyege, Kampala
09.16 Temple, Nairobi
10.15_Step In Festival, Zanzibar City
A new series of Polyrhythmic Bass and Afrocentric Techno is born at this sweet underground spot by the spree near Schlesisches Tor with big sound.
A borderless multi-genre set for here and now: from the Tech House giant Kompakt Köln to Awesome Tapes From Africa, from Hugh Masekela to Sofrito: Tropical Discotheque, from Spiritual Jazz to Tropical Bass, from Afro Funk to Hip House, from Bollywood Acid to Cosmic Disco, a continuous deep river of polyrhythmic groove which flows through all times and places:
With a strict focus on intimate dancefloors, this mid tempo mix (along with its faster sister which will soon arrive) connects Afro-Jazz and Techno, Soul and Bass, Highlife and Electro, Disco and Ancestral drumming in ways you’ve probably not heard before.
My best quotes in the interview were left out, but still proud to be featured alongside cohorts Daniel Haacksman, Mo Laudi, and others in the Arte documentary series “Dig It”, which can be seen here.
A dope night in Lithuania frozen in wav form: a set of Africanized Bass music for cool kids in the club
Mixing and blending songs from the Indian Ocean, Yoruba Muslim ritual music, Ugandan percussion, Haitian Vodou lullabies, Lebanese Dabke, Tazania Taraab, Egyptian mystical jazz, music of the San people from the Kalihari, even some Kraut psychedelia, with grimey bass and beats. Richly layered tapestries of indigenous music and deep dub ebbs and flows, swelling into fiery bass and drums toward the end.
Nyege Nyege Festival in Jinja, Uganda, is about the infinite and timeless rhythmelodic traditions from the motherland and its myriad mutations around the globe, and their sometimes difficult to perceive but indivisible connection. It is my duty as rhythm ambassador to reveal the truth about these connections between ancient and future, between the so-called “East” and so-called “West”, in a visceral way on the dance floor; and it is what i have tried to do with this mix.
In recent times I have seen many articles such as Europeans did NOT bring shoes to Africa, The forgotten masterpieces of African modernism, and 11 Ancient African Writing Systems That Demolish the Myth that Black People were Illiterate. On one level I applaud efforts that dispel myths of the under-development of African cultures. But on another level I think articles like this are missing a crucially important point: older cultures in Africa and other places developed in different ways, formed different world views, with different concepts and different methods, cultivating different ways of life, which are often, objectively speaking, much more sophisticated, efficient, and effective, than Europe techniques. “Pre-civilized”, pre-modern, and non-Western cultures must be evaluated in their own context, on their own terms, according to their own criteria, and can not be judged according to “civilized” and modern standards, in congruence with Western definition of “achievement” and “progress”.
More extensive posts about East Africa will follow. For now, just a few photos.
Baauer and RL Grime trapping fraternity kids
On a train going through the Czech Republic, random young Swedish travelers enthusiastically told me of their love for Trap music. Kids in Ho Chi Minh City are turning the f*** up to Trap. Vice magazine has made a documentary about Trap music and the ghetto streets from where it came.
Apologies that i failed to post about this earlier… been a hectic few weeks to say the least!
info and RSVP here.
See you tonight Madrid!