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Kasai Allstars

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Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Kasai Allstars is a collective revolving around 25 musicians, all based in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. The collective was formed by members of the following five bands: Lusombe Madimba, Tandjolo, Dibua Dietu, Basokin, and Masanka Sankayi.

Its members originate from five different ethnic groups: the Luba, the Songye, the Lulua, the Tetela and the Luntu. Some of these groups have endured conflicting relationships over the centuries, they each have their own culture, their own language and their own musical traditions, which were always thought to be incompatible until these musicians decided to pool their resources and form a “superband”.

Kasai Allstars’ music is powerful and sophisticated, driving and raw. It blends acoustic instruments with electric guitars, distortion-laden thumb pianos (with DIY amplification) and soulful vocals. Compared to Konono N°1 (whose minimal and effective sound has been massively adopted by the international , and scenes), Kasai Allstars use a broader array of instruments & textures, and wilder, more complex polyrhythms. They often sound like some kind of Retro-Futurist primeval rock band (“This is rock sucked back to the continent of its birth to be granted a glorious resurrection”, wrote UK magazine The Word.)

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