Introducing Congo Sanchez, the backbeat of the Washington DC party scene. As one of the city’s most adept instrumentalists, he is the favored sideman and producer for dance bands and world music ensembles alike. His contributions to The Empresarios
EP, Funk Ark
's From the Rooftops
and Thievery Corporation
's Culture of Fear
stand out with distinct character. He finally steps out on his own with his solo debut, Congo Sanchez, Vol. 1
, out April 17, 2012 on ESL Music.
Musician and Selecta extraordinaire, Congo can generally be found in one of two places. If he’s not on the road drumming with DC's own, Thievery Corporation or See-I
, he's jamming out to fresh vibes at the mysterious Lillypad studios. He is developing a unique blend of Afro-Latin Dub, as he evolves in to his own on the DC music scene. This EP - his first solo outing - proves that the sound is here, and Congo Sanchez is the ambassador. His overall taste, and musical personality are a delight, with a superlative sense of rhythm and a musicianly approach to arrangements and melody.
I embodied Afro-Cuban and Haitian rhythms while accompanying for world dance classes, and began composing pieces for Solo Percussion and Chamber Jazz Ensembles...built a DIY home studio and started to produce my own beats with these ideals in mind."
Congo produces and performs everything on the EP, with two notable exceptions. Karen Joy McCoy
plays shimmering violin on Democrazy," the opening track, while the horn section from Ikebe Shakedown
– Morgan Price, sax; Jason Colby, trumpet; Nadav Nirenberg, trombone – add their blazing ensemble work to T.E.T.O. (strut)." Congo lays down subtle keyboard textures and multi-layered percussion tracks throughout, giving the music an otherworldly vibe rooted by his earthy backbeat.
During college, I took interest world music. I learned of the Yoruba and Fon traditions of West Africa and how they remained vital throughout colonialization in the Western Hemisphere. All the time re-discovering these rhythms and melodies in music that I listened to growing up in suburban America."
Congo Sanchez knows his roots and leads the listener on a fascinating journey along the vibrations of DC’s outernational sound.