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"The Karindula Sessions"

PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 9:46 pm
by Jonathan E.
Anyone heard this?


from the blurb at

Karindula music appeared in the '70s, in the copper mining area known as the Copperbelt. It is still unclear whether it was born in Lubumbashi, Congo, or in neighbouring country Zambia, where a similar style exists under the name of Kalindula. In both cases the music is eponymous to its main instrument, a giant banjo made out of an oil barrel, a goat skin and four strings, the buzzing tone being obtained by attaching an empty bag of powdered milk between the strings and the neck. Usually a virtuoso, the player sits on the instrument and often sings, accompanied by a second stringed instrument which looks like a miniature of the first one, plus drums - one of which might be the karindula hitself, hit with wooden sticks.

The Karindula style is heavily influenced by Bemba and Luba traditional music, with some hints of reggae. Karindula bands mainly perform at mourning ceremonies, and are feared for their sometimes very provocative and rebellious lyrics.

The four bands appearing on this audiovisual album are BBK, Bana Simba, Bena Ngoma and Bana Lupemba. They live in a popular suburb of Lubumbashi known as "Kenya". The festival was organized at the last minute and took place in the street, with no amplification whatsoever, in front of a crowd of excited children aged from 2 to 12, who often engaged in call-and-response exchanges with the bands. In these increasingly hard times, where adults turn to American-influenced gospel (which is quite the opposite of provocative…), the success of Karindula among the younger generation is very good news indeed.

It sounds great (in the PR words, as you'd expect) but, before I splash out the cash, I'm a little concerned that it'll just be a bit more samey Congrotronics.

Re: "The Karindula Sessions"

PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 10:02 pm
by kk
it still streams on Luisterpaal, but it's on the very bottom of the page so it probably will be gone tomorrow

Re: "The Karindula Sessions"

PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 10:22 pm
by DavidM
I've actually been listening to it on the luisterpaal site, and I think it's terrific. It's a very live recording, no studio work at all. It's very energetic and up-beat, long fast call-and-response things with the sound of the audience, mostly children, regularly breaking through into the recording. The first track goes on for about 25 minutes. It sounds like an ethnographic recording. And, it's gospel; if you think of the kind of wild music they have in Pentecostal churches in the States, that'll give you a bit of an idea.

Re: "The Karindula Sessions"

PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 10:46 pm
by Jonathan E.
Thank you both. I always forget about the Luisterpaal site even though I have it bookmarked. OK, Mr. E. — start listening!

Re: "The Karindula Sessions"

PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 11:43 pm
by Jonathan E.
Wish I could understand the lyrics; that's quite some audience interaction.

Re: "The Karindula Sessions"

PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 7:20 pm
by Jonathan E.
Glad to have heard this for free. I couldn't quite stick with it — which might have just been my mood at the time. Maybe I'll try again later today.

Interestingly, I think the audio on Luisterpaal is (still up at this time!) the soundtrack from the DVD portion of the package, rather than the CD or mp3s (which can be downloaded if you're after them). Perhaps it's one of those things that video would really fill out. As it was, it felt a bit ethnomusicologically field-recordingish, which after all is about what it is.

Vincent Kenis must be an utterly fascinating person, however. Definitely would be my traveling companion of choice were I to ever attempt a trip around the Congo.