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 Afro Tech


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.

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Ways of Life 3: African Anarchy

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.

treecontemporary Northern Ghanaians holding council.  Photo courtesy of Marc Becker

Indigenous Democracy

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.‘“

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NGOMA July 16

Bildschirmfoto 2016-06-22 um 10.40.01

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.

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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.



Lamin Fofana (Sci-Fi & Fantasy)
dj zhao (Ngoma Soundsystem)
Qumasiquamé (Through My Speakers)



FUSION 8 – Secrets of the Sun

Dj Zhao - FUSION 8

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.

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NYEGE NYEGE Festival Official Mix


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.

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WAYS OF LIFE 2: Another Perspective

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”.

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