The String Cheese Incident Issues Sound Lab Single ‘Manga’

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Colorado’s The String Cheese Incident continues to release singles recorded at their Sound Lab facility near Denver. The latest song is entitled “Manga” and was written by percussionist Jason Hann. SCI unveiled a joyous video for the track that finds the band members swapping instruments throughout.

“Manga” (pronounced Mahn-gah) takes its name from West African bassist/producer Andre Manga. Hann was a member of Andre’s Dumazz band in the mid ’90s. Manga served as the musical director for Manu Dibango and contributed to Paul Simon’s 1990 studio album Rhythm Of The Saints. “Andre would take a traditional groove, give it an odd time signature, put it in a modern instrument setting, and then arrange it in a way that felt like you were doing something that hadn’t been done before,” Hann wrote. “His band and those shows had a crazy amount of energy and high level of talent on display.”

Watch The String Cheese Incident’s video for “Manga” below:

Here’s more from Jason Hann about the genesis of the song, which SCI debuted at the Electric Forest festival on June 22, 2018 and have since played four additional times:

The opening groove on “Manga” is a little twist that disguises the odd time. Then, as it gets to the acoustic guitar breakdown, the music goes to Soukous (a style of music from the Congo). Back to the twist for Billy and Kang solo, and back to Soukous for Kyle’s solo, and to the end of the song.

The Soukous influence of the song comes mostly from a band I was part of in San Diego in the early 90s called Bitoto (pronounced kind of like EOTO). We were a bunch of American kids trying to figure out music from the Congo (called Zaire at the time) with 2 singers from the Congo, one singer from Kenya, and one singer from Rwanda. We ended up playing tons of clubs and cultural festivals on the west coast – as well as for events like Afro Pop Worldwide.

We spent so much time writing and arranging in that style of music, but it had been, since 1996, that I sat down to work on a new song with that specific groove in mind.

Parts of the actual recording of the song had wonderful unexpected surprises. One of them involved Billy. At first there wasn’t going to be an acoustic guitar solo on the song. The texture and part that Billy was already covering, was more than enough to convey the groove and style of the song – and the song was plenty long already. As Billy was warming up, Dros (our awesome engineer and SCI front of house) started getting Billy’s acoustic guitar mic’d up and was having him play against the track as a reference. While we were hearing it with the music, the solo section came up. Billy kept playing and I asked Dros to just let him keep going in record mode. We held our breath till the end, and when Billy finished, we all noted “that was the take, we’re keeping that solo!!”. Boom! – Jason Hann

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