Kraagistan Video Tape

My pal DJ Galapago from ECU found this VHS tape from KRG lying on a window sill next to Pizza Boom... something like... 9 years ago? Because it was NTSC it took him a while to transfer to PAL. Now here it is transcoded to MPG.

What I'd M Thfft Able has to say about this: «In 2002, i used to leave VHS with videos such as these all over downtown Portland. [...] These ones were pretty unique, instantaneous collages with whatever i had lying around, made hastily. The results were often dull, but occasionally something brilliant happened. [...] Left 'em in the library, in that little alley by 10 exchange, i opened car doors and dropped them in the drivers seat... all over the place. [...] Brendan and I did a few where we walked around Portland with a camera, went to the free box, filmed ourselves talking about and somehow using what was in the free box, then popped the tape out of the camcorder and stuck it in the free box...»


Firenze Made Me Banzaï

Gary Stewart, Rumba on the River: A History of the Popular Music of the Two Congos, Verso, London / New York, 2000, p. 308:

« As a result of Zaïre's failing economy and declining record sales, live performances took on greater importance. Stars' individual character and style could count for as much, perhaps more, than their music. The phenomenon of la sape, 'society of ambiancers and persons of elegance' (from the French les sapes, clothes or togs), appeared to spring in part from this development. Practitioners were called sapeurs. Nearly every young star – and soon many of their fans – joined in pursuing the fad. Sapeurs' predilection for European designer clothes flew in the face of authenticity [...]. La sape gave rise to a dance known as la griffe (the label). 'When you dance you have to show off the [clothing] label', Wemba explained. 'You can even take off your shoes to show the label on the shoes.' Wemba invented a dance called Firenze in honor of the fashion houses of Florence. »

Papa Wemba's 1983 song "Matebu" was the anthem of the sapeurs:

You'll grab these lyrics between 5:00 and 5:30 approximately.

« [Papa Wemba est] le prince, le "pape" de la SAPE, la Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes. Né au Congo à la fin des années 70, ce mouvement prend toute son ampleur au Zaïre, mais surtout auprès de la diaspora zaïro-congolaise à l'étranger et en particulier en France. La SAPE est un phénomène d'abord vestimentaire fondé sur une élégance flamboyante et exagérée. Fou de fringues, Papa Wemba est à la pointe de la mode et les grands couturiers européens et japonais n'ont pas de secret pour le chanteur. Les jeunes hommes s'empressent de se transformer en coquets dandys, et de suivre très précisément les codes particuliers de la SAPE, du choix de leurs chaussures à celui de la coupe de cheveux. Forme de rébellion anti-pauvreté et anti-déprime, la SAPE est aussi une façon de lutter contre la dictature de l'abacost, version locale du costume trois-pièces, et uniforme quasi-officiel des hommes sous le régime de Mobutu.» (http://papawembamwalimu.skyrock.com)

In 1986 Viva La Musica (in May) and Zaïko Langa Langa (in October) would travel to Japan and bring back to the soukous communities of Kinshasa, Paris and Brussels the craze for Japanese fashion deginers.

Massive Love To Japan!!!!!!!!


Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore

Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore (Mark Leckey, UK, 1999, 14') uses found and original footage of parties held across Britain during the 70s, 80s and 90s, from northern soul clubs to acid house raves. Details of clothing, technology, music and other cultural references surface briefly like uncanny folklore as the film explores a culture of collective leisure and consumption. Writing about Leckey’s first few video pieces, which in addition to Fiorucci… include We Are (Untitled) (2000) and Parade (2003), the art critic Catherine Wood said that they “represent the human subject striving to spread itself out into a reduced dimensionality. His subjects dance, take drugs and dress up in their attempts to transcend the obstinate physicality of the body and disappear in abstract identification with the ecstasy of music, or the seamlessness of the image". The video is sound-tracked by the artist's own music.

From Artforum: A documentary of sorts, Leckey's video chronicles the rites of passage experienced by successive generations of British (sub)urban youth. While obviously celebratory, Fiorucci is ultimately concerned with a collective loss of innocence; its subtext, an examination of the ritualistic behavior of heterosexuals on the threshold of adulthood. Leckey's young--ostensibly male--protagonists exist in the tungsten glare of the moment, blissfully unaware of (their) culture's inevitable passing. As one musical genre succeeds the next, so too are fashions consigned to the dustbin of history. Fiorucci revels in its detail: At one point an authoritarian voice-over intones a list of the once-prized sportswear brands favored by Britain's "casuals" (those elite tribes of mid-'80s football hooligans): Ellesse, Cerrutti, Sergio Tacchini, Lacoste, Fila, Kappa, Jordache, Fiorucci, each specific to a particular time and a particular team's supporters.


Palm Wine Workshop: Congo Love Affaire Video

If you're in Milan or nearby... Simone Bertuzzi from the great Palm Wine blog is setting up the following screening / talk given by a Music City representative. Next Monday!

Kaleidoscope - annual workshop
Palm Wine Workshop – Episodio 3/5

Congo Love Affaire Video
a cura di Xavier García Bardón

7 MARZO 2011 ore 18.30
Kaleidoscope Project Space, Milano

Nei pezzi di soukous - un genere esplicitamente congolese - il sebene è la parte finale, dove le chitarre elettriche esplorano uno spazio di libertà estatica. Questo intervento propone di esplorare il mondo dei video musicali del Zaire/Congo degli anni 70/80, che non furono solamente il corrispettivo visivo di canzoni fantastiche, ma inventarono e produssero universi affascinanti, contemporaneamente alla diffusione generalizzata del mezzo video. Le VHS e DVD sono stati raccolti a Bruxelles, ex-metropoli coloniale dove la scena congolese è particolarmente vivace; video musicali, apparizioni televisive, immagini live e altri documenti verranno proiettati e ricontestualizzati. Con: M'Pongo Love, Trio Madjesi, Orchestre Bella-Bella, Lita Bembo & Stukas Boys, M’Bilia Bel, Zaiko Langa Langa…

Altre versioni di questa programmazione sono state presentate all'Oceans Academy of Arts di Den Haag, all'International Film Festival Rotterdam e al Palais des Beaux-Arts di Bruxelles.

Kaleidoscope, 10 Galleria Buenos Aires, 20124 Milano.