The Congotronics series first highlighted the amazing vitality of modern Congolese music with the 2005 debut disc from Konono No. 1, which created something utterly mesmerizing by adding modern amplification and electronic distortion to traditional instruments like the likembe thumb piano. The third Congotronics installment broadens the scope. Central Africa's Democratic Republic Of The Congo is so huge it could fit Western Europe inside it, and its musical diversity is correspondingly vast. Kasai Allstars is a supergroup of 25 performers from five bands that each come from a different ethnic group in the central region of Kasai, with different languages, a history of strife, and artistic traditions considered incompatible until the musicians and dancers got together to try fusing them. As with Konono, the Allstars build on a base of traditional tribal music that was nearly destroyed by the advent of Western missionaries, and aim to not only rejuvenate the old traditions, but set them free in the vastly expanded sonic playground that amplification provides. The result is even more appealing than Konono, drawing on likembes, the buzzing and drum-like tam tam, electric guitars, and half a dozen vocalists to create hypnotic, rich, complex polyrhythmic wonders. It sounds ancient and otherworldly, even psychedelic. (That eye-catching album title, by the way, comes from a traditional Songye tribal dance performed by a new chief the day he takes the throne.)

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