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 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:
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)
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)
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.
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”.
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.
On 24th of September going on a month+ tour in East Africa, Nairobi, Kampala, etc.! Hanging with the Boutique Electronique crew, collaborating with East African artists, and playing at festivals and clubs such as this one with an awesome lineup:
Join us for ECK IM SAVANE at Promenaden Eck on Saturday night for a special night of Cosmik Grooves from the Motherland and beyond. The collectiv Tropical Timewarpwith BestMate? and Bela Patrutzi will heat things up with their impressiv vinyl collection and will give service with an Afro beat – Afro funk mix then Léon Leon from FINOW ZOO and dj zhao will take us deep into the night with their multi-dimensional drum science.
And on Sunday, we come together for Umbenennungsfestival(renaming festival),on the block where the infamous Berlin Conference of 1884 took place, to enjoy the afternoon and agitate for refugee rights, against Pegida, and the changing of the historic “Mohrenstr.” (N***er Street) to “Nelson Mandela Strasse”. There will be many speakers and artists, and like last time i will contribute with a dj set and a talk on Culture as a Global Process and Dismantling Eurocentricity.
2:00pm – 8:00pm
mohrenstr, berlin 10117 Berlin, Germany
I’ve always loved Acid. Not only due to the squelchy palette of the misused TB303 being, for reasons i can not articulate (related to liking the smell of petroleum??), so endlessly delicious, sexy, and addictive, but also because Acid House and Acid Techno, ever since the beginning, have always been more overtly and unabashedly polyrhythmic than their bigger stylistic cousins.