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Kinshasa Mantra

by Dragon Noir

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credits

released May 20, 2013

Kinshasa Mantra produced (re)mixed and mastered By A Cowboy And An Indian at Vinylizor, London ★ Live sessions produced by Benjamin Schoos at Studio 5, Liège ★ Recorded by Raphaël Wynands, Antoine Litt ★ Recorded and produced by Benjamin Schoos at Studio Freaksville, except track 7 recorded at Cambridge MFU Moon Base.

Olibass : bass, guitar, vocoder, analog synth, congo and bongo, vocals ★ Thierry The Black Dragon : drums and percussions, drums programming ★ Manu The Red Phoenix : guitar ★ Adil Magik : vocals on 1, 2, 4, 9 ★ Nina Kay : vocals on 3 ★ Tamara Schlesinger : Vocals on 9 ★ Domgue : saxophone ★ Benjamin Schoos & Man From Uranus : additional analog synth.

Dragon Noir drawing and Africsville logo : Pierre-Philippe Duchatelet ★ Photo : www.pascalschyns.com ★ Design : www.scalp.be

Catalog number : AFRV01
© & ℗ Freaksville Records 2013
www.freaksvillerec.com



"Congolese trio Dragon Noir may have gone AWOL, but their music lives on thanks to a Belgian producer and a Scottish singer"
The Guardian.net

'Strange(r) pie... Really weird, wonky pop music"
Jen & Ally, BBC Radio 1 Show

"Probably my favourite Congolese street musician trio..."
Huw Stephens, BBC Radio 1 Show

"Une pléthore de sons imaginatifs déferle, les trames construites sont géniales, les voix, travaillées, traficotes, associées parfois, tout autant et pas une seconde, on n'est en mesure de résister à cette rondelle qui emmène haut et loin sans délai"
Muzzart.fr



[EN]

In 2010 Belgium producer Benjamin Schoos, head of Freaksville Records, welcomed Congolese group Dragon Noir into his studio, still unaware that what was meant to be simply a wonderful play on words – “Afreaksville” (a contraction of the black continent and the name of the Belgian label) was to rapidly transform into a remake of the film “Searching For Sugarman” with the boys themselves in the role of missing person Rodriguez…So let’s rewind the soundtrack to this strange film…

Three years ago, Schoos met three teenage musicians busking who, like the Jackson Five, had a characteristic way of hitting their instruments like in the good old days when Afro Funk dominated the charts. The Freaksville boss would probably have been wise to tread carefully: for a long time relations between the Congo and Belgium have been as tense as they ever were at Checkpoint Charlie…

However, captivated by their groove and talent, he didn’t hesitate to invite them for a week of recording in his Liège studio. Leaving the tape running throughout the group’s jam sessions, he captured a mixture of their traditional roots and the cold technology of his synth keyboard collection. In some ways it was like Fela Kuti or Manu Dibango were jamming with Kraftwerk! It was going well. Delighted with the quality of the recording sessions, Schoos thought it was all in the bag - until it was time to record the vocals; the group had gone AWOL! Just like Rodriguez, they’d literally vanished from the face of the earth.

Undeterred by this setback though, Schoos filed the tapes away in a cupboard, convinced that sooner or later something would come of all this. Passing through London in mid 2012 to promote his album “China Man Vs China Girl”, Schoos played the demos to a host of musician friends, including production / dj duo Jay Glover and Adil Magik (aka A Cowboy & Indian), who’ve worked alongside Martin Gore, Grandmaster Flash, Chrissie Hynde, Propaganda’s Claudia Brucken, and err 60’s crooner Tony Christie! Tantalised by what sounded like African Krautrock, the duo offered their help in finishing the record and invited in some guest vocalists: glamorous electro goth rocker Nina Kay on Loverbeat, and rising nu-folk star Tamara Schlesinger on Black Dragon.

The result was beyond anything anyone could have hoped for; Dragon Noir's record blows every hip cliche out of the water- no kalimbas , no colonial nods to President Mobutu nor Staff Benda Bilili. The nine songs that make up "Kinshasa Mantra" veer between the blood diamond hard to the gentle and blissed out, between dark metronomic grooves to deep funk all infused with mysterious filtered shamanic voices and sounds giving the whole thing the feel of an epic musical journey of driving along the "Autobham" in a supercharged African "Screamadelica".

Two and a half years after the initial sessions, Schoos has still not heard a thing from these incredible session kids. However, now armed with a finished record that should help him gather enough fans, he hopes to give these mysterious Congolese characters the notoriety they deserve.

[FR]

En remake de l’émission “Perdu de vue” avec, dans le rôle des portés disparus, le groupe lui-même…

Rembobinons la bande de ce drôle de film. Voilà déjà trois ans, Benjamin Schoos fait la connaissance de trois musiciens ayant la particularité, outre le fait d’être noirs et frangins comme les Jackson Five, de matraquer leurs instruments comme au bon vieux temps, quand la funk africaine régnait sur les charts.

Le patron de Freaksville aurait pourtant du se méfier : les relations entre le Congo et la Belgique sont depuis longtemps aussi tendues que celles entre Bambi et son père…. Et pourtant, le leader maximo de Freaksville, subjugué par le talent et le groove de Dragon Noir, n’hésite pas à les inviter pour une semaine d’enregistrement dans son studio liégeois ; là-bas les Congolais découvrent ébahis la collection de synthétiseurs du vicieux Schoos, qui laisse tourner la bande au gré des jams du groupe qui mélangent ses racines anciennes à la technologie froide offerte par ses claviers. Quelque part, c’est un peu comme si Fela Kuti ou Francis Bebey tapait le bœuf avec Kraftwerk. Jusque là, tout va bien.

Ravi par la qualité des séances d’enregistrement, Benjamin Schoos croit l’affaire dans le sac. C’est hélas sans compter sur un menu problème : au moment d’enregistrer les prises de voix, le groupe s’avère introuvable ! Obstinés comme seuls savent l’être les amoureux d’aventures impossibles, le patron de Freaksville ne baisse pourtant pas les bras. Il se contente de mettre les bandes au placard, convaincu que tôt ou tard, le dragon finira bien par sortir de la boite. Quant au groupe, tel Alain Kan disparu sur un quai de métro en 1990, il est sur répondeur. Littéralement, on l’a perdu de vue.

De passage à Londres au milieu de l’année 2012 et alors qu’il est en pleine promo de son album “China Man Vs China Girl”, Benjamin Schoos fait écouter les démos enregistrées à des amis musiciens, parmi lesquels le duo de producteurs A Cowboy & An Indian (déjà repérés aux côtés de Martin Gore, Chrissie Hynde ou Claudia Bruken de Propaganda). Emoustillés par ce qui sonne comme du krautrock africain, à la fois robotique et primaire, le duo propose son aide pour terminer le disque et propose de mettre son chic carnet d’adresse à disposition pour inviter des chanteuses additionnelles : la top model Nina Kay sur Loverbeat, ou encore la chanteuse folk Tamara Schlesinger du groupe 6 Day Riot sur The Black Dragon 1.

Le résultat est à la hauteur des espérances que personne n’avait plus ; le disque de Dragon Noir explose tous les clichés en vogue, ici pas de congas, pas de clins d’œil coloniaux à Mobutu ni à Staff Benda Bilili ; les neufs chansons qui composent “Kinshasa Mantra” s’avèrent dures comme du bois bandé, le groove métronomique associé aux voix chamaniques passées sous filtre donnant à l’ensemble une fausse impression de Kavinsky embarqué en safari…

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Le Dragon Noir Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo

The afro-electro songs that make up “ Dragon Noir :Kinshasa Mantra” are blood diamond hard, with a metronomic groove and twisted Shamanic voices, giving the whole thing the feel of a supercharged African ‘Screamadelica’.
" Strange(r) pie….. really weird, wonky pop music "Jen & Ally, BBC Radio 1 show
"Probably my favourite Congolese street musician trio….. " Huw Stephens, BBC Radio 1 show
... more

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