Kuenta i Tambu
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Kuenta i Tambu

Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands | Established. Jan 01, 2005 | INDIE

Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2005
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The Amsterdam quintet KiT twists Afro-Caribbean tradition into an accessible, club-ready style. KiT, or Kuenta i Tambu — "Stories and Drums" — takes music from the Caribbean island of Curaçao, merges it with European dance-floor music and kicks it all into high, sweaty gear.

With frontwoman Diamanta von Lieshdeck rapping taunts in English and the Antillean language called Papiamentu, what KiT does these days is a far cry from its origins as an educational project to teach young Dutch schoolchildren about the culture of Curaçao, a country of about 140,000 which to this day remains part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

But the Afro-Caribbean rhythms and feel of the tambú drum and the dance of the same name — both central to the island's culture — still dart in and out of the four-on-the-floor, soca and hip-hop rhythms, as do specialty instruments like the metal work hoe called a chapi, which has become a favorite percussion instrument on Curaçao. - NPR Music


Kuenta i Tambu— KiT for short—caught our attention this spring with “Jackhammer,” which set a diatribe against bad dancing from vocalist Diamanta von Lieschdeck against the fusion of Dutch Caribbean rhythms and electronic sounds they’ve dubbed “Tambutronic.” The group—which is based in Amsterdam, but has its roots in Curacao— just dropped their debut LP, also called Tambutronic, this month, and plan to tour globally later this year following successful appearances at NYC’s Globalfest, Aruba’s Caribbean Sea Jazz fest and other festival gigs. —Jesse Serwer - Large Up


I’ve lived in the US for the past 12 years, most recently in Manhattan. Though I often hear Spanish and Dutch on the street, I hardly ever hear Papiamentu… My native language. I’m not that surprised; Papiamentu is only spoken by 250,000 people in the world. But “lack of Papiamentu” in my daily life does make me feel homesick.

So I realize that I have to work harder to create random sprinkles of Papiamentu. I have to pick up the phone and dial Curaçao or Holland (trust me, I appreciate Skype un mundu)

I sometimes deliberately post in Papiamentu on Facebook, you know, to start a written conversation. I’m fully convinced that my personality is more vibrant, more creative, less uptight “in Papiamentu”, and this personality is somewhat lost in translation in my day-to-day life. So here I am, writing this post in English because I’d love for you to understand me. For you to understand us.

One of the highlights of my summer of 2012 was Kuenta i Tambú live in concert at Lincoln Center Out of Doors.

As soon as I heard their first Tambú (drum) beats, first strikes on the Chapi (metallic object used to plow land), first chants in Papiamentu… Diamanta’s hair wild and free, hips whining to the music like a jackhammer… The explosion of raw energy… I felt at home… in Manhattan… and tears streamed down my face.

I don’t think you plan momentous moments in life, hearing sounds from home, sounds from my childhood, adapted to contemporary senses, performed masterfully in the shadow of concrete skyscrapers, not palm trees… Teary cheeks and all, I looked around and saw people on their feet, dancing, gyrating their pelvis, smiling, singing along in Papiamentu… And I wanted to give them all a hug, individually, you know one by one, because right then and there, I felt accepted by a crowd of strangers. I felt like I belonged. And they made me feel that way. Such a tremendous sense of pride.

The music of Kuenta i Tambú is inspired by traditional Afro Caribbean Music from Curaçao and European Dance. They found a clever balance between electronica, singing and chanting and the infectious rhythms played by ritual tambú drums. Some call it Global Bass, others prefer labeling it Tambutronic — it’s wild and colorful explosion of energy makes you want to get up and dance!

Kuenta i Tambú is based in Amsterdam, they were formed in 2005 after a series of educational projects at schools and theaters to introduce the music and culture of Curaçao to children in the Netherlands.

Enjoy! - 1000awesomethingsaboutcuracao


Sounds Like: A super-crunk, blacklight warehouse party surrounded by four separate Carnival parades.

For Fans Of: Major Lazer, Buraka Som Sistema, Machel Montano

Why You Should Pay Attention: A go-hard blend of peak rave synths and traditional Afro-Curaçaoan tambú music, Kuenta i Tambú (or K i T, for short) translates as "words and drums" in the Caribbean language Papiamento. It's a spare distillation of the music these Amsterdam party-starters pay tribute to, "work songs" originating from slaves in the formerly Dutch-occupied island of Curaçao. Their bananas, just-released debut, Tambútronic, puts rhythm above all, alongside beat-blasts and dance-beseeching chants by gum-cracking lead vocalist Diamanta von Lieshdek. It's a "worldwide ting," as they say: high-impact, dutty-wining single "Jackhammer" has been remixed by like-minded stars of global bass music and upcoming dates around the world will leverage the party in 2014. (They're playing SXSW and doing a U.S. tour in early summer.)

They Say: "We played a block party in the Bronx, and I was dancing with this old lady, I think she must have been 70 or so," says Roël Calister, the group's mastermind. "And she was wining, going on her knees, you know! People went fanatic. I think it was the hypnotizing beats of our drums, the tambús, which are the most important part of our set."

Hear for Yourself: "Jackhammer" shames dance-floor half-assers with von Lieshdek's motivational chants:



Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/pictures/10-new-artists-you-need-to-know-january-2014-20140124/kuenta-i-tambu-0920496#ixzz2z9PGti5K
Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook - Rolling Stone Magazine


Sooner or later, every Caribbean rhythm will probably get digitally pumped up for the global club circuit. Tambú, from the Dutch island of Curaçao, gets its turn on “Tambutronic” (Jiga Musica) by Kuenta i Tambú, which is performing Sunday night at Globalfest at Webster Hall. Tambú — a hip-shimmying dance and genre named after its central drum — is music of ritual (like Brazilian camdomblé and Cuban Santería), protest and partying created by African slaves and their descendants. It survived a 350-year ban in Curaçao, and is still heavily regulated there. Its beat comes from hand drum and iron percussion — often a hoe blade, used like both a bell and a scraper — and its lyrics, as in other Afro-Caribbean styles, have often held political statements, coded or not. Kuenta i Tambú, based in Amsterdam and founded by a percussionist from Curaçao, goes more for sass and impact than preservation. Programmed beats join or replace hand percussion, synthesizers swoop, and tambú’s intricacies are often traded for a soca-like beat mixed with four-on-the-floor, as women chant taunts like “Show me where your light switch is,” “I know I’m better than you,” or “Don’t move like jackhammer.” Those internationalized tracks are fun on their own terms — similar to Diplo’s productions — and they’re bait, perhaps, for the snippets of traditional and fused tambú that punctuate the album. - The New York Times


Repping Curacao by way of the Netherlands, Dutch Antillean crew K i T call their sound—a mixture of tropical bass/EDM, Caribbean riddims and a little touch of Brazilian baile funk—”Tambutronic.” Their name, K i T, meanwhile, is short for Kuenta i Tambu, which translates to “stories and drums” in Papiamentu.

K i T’s single “Jackhammer” is an anti-bad dancing PSA (the title references awkward, up-and-down dancefloor movements) and an anthem for Caribbean girls and women of all nationalities who know the value of—and technique behind— a good wine. As vocalist Diamanta puts it, “I don’t know nothing about no jackhammer… we Caribbean women need to grind hard.” While touring the ABC islands—that’s Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao—last year, the group shot a video illustrating the song’s point a few different ways. - Largeup/okayplayer


Roël Callister from the band Kuenta i Tambú (KiT) answered a few questions for the GenBass team. Read, listen&Enjoy !

Q : Can you describe KiT ?
A : KiT consists of a bunch of crazy people mostly from the islands of Curaçao and Aruba. One band member is from Germany. We all share the same passion and dedication to music. Most of us have a background as a drummer or percussionist and we all love Carnaval and chicken! And there’s the one important thing we have in abundance: energy and drive!

Q: Can you tell me your part in the band ?
A : Mostly I try to come up with ideas and make them work within the live setting we’re playing in. Thank god I don’t have to do it all by myself. I’m doing the writing and production part with my good friend, and not to forget, great producer: Rusted Braces. Whatever we make in the studio I’ll try to reproduce on stage. Live I do mostly chanting and some of the small traditional percussion instruments.
Besides the studio work and the live shows there’s also the label and the management part, which need to be taken care of. Together with 3 others we do all of this.

Q : Can you explain me what KiT means ?
A : KiT is short for ‘Kuenta i Tambú’ which translates into stories and drums.
Tambú is the name of the drums we use on stage! There’s actually two of them. The normal tambú and the tambú Grandi which is the bigger drum.
Tambú is also the name for music style, which is one of the most traditional music styles on Curaçao. It was brought to the Caribbean by the African Slaves.
It’s a combination of singing, clapping, tambú drums and the chapi (hoe). Since the band name is a bit difficult to pronounce we mostly stick to KiT.

Q : Can you tell us a bit about the story of KiT ?
A : It all started back in 2005 when one of my best friends, who’s a great artist and story teller, asked me to do a performance with only traditional music styles from Curaçao. 3 years later I was booking our first theater tour with his help. Until then it was totally acoustic and traditional. In 2010 we decided to change it up a little bit by adding samples and electronics. It was quite a long process going from acoustic to a 50/50 with electronics and acoustic drums.
The one thing we keep on doing is: using the traditional instruments and elements in a modern setup where we’re able to experiment with i.e. ‘work songs’. ‘Work songs’ were sang by the slaves to ease the pain of their situation while ‘working’.
We also have the ‘celebration songs’. These were used to thank God for a great harvest and to celebrate the great season they just had.
The Tambú drums and the Chapi are always present.

Q : How have you come up with the project ? What are your inspirations ?
A : I try to get inspired by anything I listen to. I especially like it when there’s loads of Drums and percussions. Those are my fist instruments and form the basis of all our compositions.
Bands and artists I listen to are quite varied and actually too many to mention. I’ll just name a few who did inspire me while producing music for KiT: Carlinhos Brown, Timbalada, Sergio Mendes and of course the local artists from Curaçao that make traditional music.
The connection here is simple: rhythm & percussions and especially the concept behind it. It’s how to make songs having percussions as the first instrument.

Q: What was the evolution of the band ?
A : The evolution happened when I gave in to electronic music influences. I was listening to electronic music already, but at some point we started trying out different things for KiT’s music. Things like bleeps, pitched vocals, weird basslines, using conga’s instead of snare drums and those kinda crazy things.
We shifted from ‘Tambu’ music to make something else. This was the birth of ‘Tambutronic’: we make use of traditional elements of tambu music and loads of loops, samples and electronics.

Q : Can you explain what modern Caribbean music is ?
A : Caribbean Music doesn’t stop at just reggae, zouk, or calypso. They do refer to many different styles as Caribbean Music. To me it becomes modern when you take it out of its original context and add i.e. some slick synth. sounds to it, really poppy sounding chords etc. It will always be danceable though. That’s its strength.

Q : Why being attached to your roots ?
A : Because it’s that one thing that you get for free! It’s that one thing that keeps on reminding you where you’re from. It goes beyond music. It’s like a blueprint for many things. For KiT it’s something we all can relate to and fall back on. It’s something you should be proud of.

Q : Can you tell us about your releases ?
A : Our first release was back in 2009. The album is called ‘E Kalakuna’ and was totally acoustic. The title track to the album was the first song I have written, and the first song I have ever sang. It reached the #1 position on a few charts on the islands. It’s a v - generation bass


Discography

2009 - E Kalakuna (full length acoustic album) release: Sep 2
2011 - Kuenta i Tambu (EP) release: 30 Nov 2011 
2012 - Jackhammer (Single) release: 22 Sep 2012
2013 - Hey DJ The Opposites (official KiT remix) release: Jan 2013
2013 - Otro Dia Gregor Salto & KiT release: 4 March 2013
2013 - Jackhammer videoclip release: 30 March
2014 - Tambutronic ( full length album) release: october 2013

Photos

Bio

Inspired by Traditional Afro Caribbean Music from Curacao and European Dance, Kuenta i Tambu has created a brand new sound! They cleverly found a balance between electronic sound samples, singing and chanting and the infectious rhythms played by ritual tambu drums.

Some call it Global Bass, Others prefer labeling it Tambutronic but one thIng is for sure: it’s a wIld and colorful explosion of energy, and always seems To set off some serious movements on the dancefloor! KuenTa i Tambu performances stand for high energy shows, with hypnotizIng beats and dazzling percussive Interplay between the band members. 

KiT has been performing all over the world, with presentations at international venues and festivals such as New York City's Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, Pitch festival in Amsterdam, GlobalFEST in NYC, The Great Escape in Brighton, SXSW in Austin Texas, Fusion Festival in Berlin, Eurosonic/Noorderslag in Groningen and Amsterdam Dance Event to name a few.

In addition the group has also been collaborating and producing remixes for various international artists and DJs such as: Gregor Salto, DJ Roog and Dutch Hip Hop sensation The Opposites.

Band Members