Tout puissant

Likembe

I’ve been neglecting lct in favor of my daughter, who has been with me this week. Thus, I haven’t yet discussed the show at Cleveland’s Beachland Ballroom last Tuesday by Le Grande Orchestre Tout Puissant Likembe Konono No. 1 (The All Powerful Number One Konono Likembe Orchestra).

If ever there was an example of the hamster wheel of cultural transmission in the modern era, it is this group of Bazombo musicians from the Democratic Republic of Congo. In one sense, their music is ancient, using hand drums and likembes (thumb pianos) under call-and-response singing. But because these rural migrants to the capital of Kinshasa needed amplification to be heard above the din of that chaotic urban area, they accomplished for acoustic Bazombo music what Muddy Waters and other South Side pioneers did for acoustic rural blues: scuffing it up and giving it an urban crunch.

Paradoxically, European trance music fans found in Konono a kindred spirit, and the band’s debut record, Congotronics, became a cult hit. At Beachland, a former Croatian social hall replete with murals of tamburitza orchestras and whirling dancers, Konono built the groove slowly, and the primarily Caucasian audience stood around for most of the opening number. But it wasn’t long before movement became inevitable, even down to the expression on the face of the impassive older gentleman pictured above. His only smile of the evening came when a young man in a newsboy cap broke into a duck-walk in front of the stage. In the audience, smiles were less fleeting and damn near universal.

Planet of the “Apes”

Apes_cover

As any regular listener to NPR can tell you, musician, writer, radio personality, anthologist and social observer David Greenberger is good company. Lately, I’ve been keeping company with his new CD, “1001 Real Apes,” a recording of a piece that Greenberger and Boston’s Birdsongs of the Mesozoic played in Erie in 1998.

My review of the CD will be running soon in the Erie Times’s ShowCase entertainment tab, and I don’t want to tip my hand (hint, it’ll be laudatory), but you should hear this. “How Records Are Made,” a selection from the CD is available here.

See it, too: the cover art, by the way, was assembled from rocks found at local artist Brian Pardini’s beach cottage in Lake City.

The Two Lindseys

Nate Chinen from the New York Times (and also the Village Voice — now there’s a double) offers this review of Lindsey Horner’s new CD, “Don’t Count on Glory.”

My wife and I had dinner with Lindsey and his beloved Andrea, whom he met while he was in my home town with Bobby Previte’s Weather Clear, Track Fast band, and he gave me a copy of “Don’t Count on Glory.”

I will be reviewing it for the next issue of Signal to Noise, and while I’m not done with that review yet, I think Chinen pretty much nails it. Good record. Good review.

By the way, the teaser blurb on the Times’s Arts web page this morning reads, “New releases from Lindsay Lohan, Don Omar, Korn and Lindsey Horner.” How much fun is that?