De Palenque à Matongé
Leonardo Gómez, artistic director, researcher and poet of Afro-Colombian music. With the project Alé Kumá he has united many of the Colombian traditions – Pacific, Atlantic and mainland – into numerous music shows, music theatre performances and operas.
When Leonardo travelled to Brussels in 2010 for the first time, he got in contact with the local Congolese society and artistic movement. Knowing that Congolese music had a particularly strong influence on Colombian music, it was an intriguing encounter, which germinated the idea of reuniting both Congolese and Colombian music.
Since the connection with the Congolese neighbourhood Matongé in Brussels was so strong and the music scene is still very vibrant it was quite natural for him to start working with the living legend, guitar master and representative key figure Dizzy Mandjeku.
In 2015, Dizzy was invited to Colombia for the first rehearsals, try-out concerts and recordings. The result was very promising and the song “Por el Norte y por el Sur”, composed and sung by Majín Diaz, recorded at that time, got Dizzy Mandjeku & Alé Kumá into the finals of the Viña Del Mar festival at the beginning of 2016 representing Colombia in the category folk.
Later that year, the project was taken to a higher level. A residency, together with try-out concerts and recording sessions took place in Belgium. Alé Kumá flew over and joined the finest Congolese musicians residence in Brussels. The result is called ‘De Palenque à Matongé, the first project and full album of Dizzy Mandjeku & Alé Kumá. The album will be released worldwide by the end of 2017 and in the summer of the same year, Dizzy Madjeku & Alé Kumá will be performing several live shows throughout Europe.