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Video: Kasai Allstars' 'Yangye, The Evil Leopard'

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Kasai Allstars
Charles Prearo

Kasai Allstars are from the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and as their name suggests, they’re something of a supergroup, with around 25 musicians drawn not only from six different bands but from five different ethnic groups that reside in the area, not all of which have historically gotten along. Their music not only bridges the gaps between their disparate musical cultures, but in the process of adapting parts for traditional acoustic instruments for modern electrified ones they link two distinct eras of African music.

Crammed Discs just released the group’s double album, Beware the Fetish, which offers not only a pleasurable crash course in Congolese folklore (it includes story-songs with evocative titles like “As They Walked Into the Forest On a Sunday, They Encountered Apes Dressed as Humans”) but a blend of hypnotic rhythms and peripatetic melodies that should appeal equally to fans of dance music and jazz. In the meantime, here’s the video for “Yangye, the Evil Leopard.”