Les Tambours de Brazza
Behind a hypnotic and exalted percussive sound is hidden an artistic approach that takes traditional drums and percussions outside their usual roles. In its Montreal première, this legendary group will be introducing titles hot off its new album.
At the origins of Les Tambours de Brazza is Emile Biayenda, a drummer and percussionist specializing in jazz and a lover of beats from his home country, Congo-Brazzaville. Initiated in the ngoma, a Congolese drum, at a very early age, this musician became interested in drums as a teenager and, after teaching himself to play, accompanied various musical and dance groups.
In 1991, he gathered several dozen percussionists for a one-time project, adopting ngoma beats to more western trends. The result was pleasing, with about 50 percussionists wishing to continue the adventure. Les Tambours de Brazza were born! The album Congo Drums came out in 1994, followed in 1996 by another one titled simply Les Tambours de Brazza.
In 1997, while they were on tour, a civil war broke out in Congo-Brazzaville, stopping the musicians from returning home. They headed to Pointe-Noire, another city in Congo-Brazzaville, and remained there for two years. But during a tour of West Africa, a second civil war broke out in their country. They had to settle elsewhere and chose Benin, where they stayed for two years before going into exile in France in 2001.
These successive uprootings provided the advantage of a great opening to other musical practices, other beats, other instruments and new items from which they drew enrichment. Over the years, drums and percussions were enhanced with a bass and other percussions. Their album Tandala came out in 2003 and even included a piano. Song, which had been accessory until then, took on increasing importance over the years. The result is an impressive blend of tradition and modernity, a back-and-forth between ancestral rhythms and current sounds. Their stage play is also evolving. The musicians, who are also dancers, give their performances an added dimension and a communicative energy.
After settling in France, they engaged in more albums and international tours. They brought out Tandala (2003), the live CD and DVD Zangoula (2004), Ahaando (2004) and Brazza (2008). Each successive disc shows an eagerness to deepen the playing of the ngoma and to bring in other traditions and musical innovations with a continuously renewed curiosity.
After touring the world, this is their first visit to Canada, specially for Nuits d’Afrique.
Les Tambours de Brazza
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