Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Vintage Bongos & Pomplamoose

Submitted by Allee Willis June 17th, 2010
Certifikitsch Winner

These 1950’s bongos with pearlized crushed ice wrap and heavy chrome hardware have been beaten on just about every song I ever wrote. If it weren’t for their bone crushing girth they would be in my suitcase right now as I’m on my way up to northern CA. to finish six songs with Pomplamoose.


Despite having sold over 50 million records I still have never learned how to play, which always makes for a very interesting experiment when I collaborate. It’s rare that I leave my own studio and the over 500 percussion instruments that are in there because the easiest thing for me to do when I hear a melody in my head or some kind of repetitive lyric is to walk over to something like these bongos and start filling in rhythm.


I was drawn to Pomplamoose when I heard them do my song “September”.


I’ve seen trillions of versions of this song and no one gets within a continent of Earth Wind & Fire. But Pomplamoose dissected that thing like a frog and reconstructed something inventive and fun so I did what I never do, I tracked them down and asked if they wanted to make records together.


We got together for four days in December and got great starts on six songs, filming for the videos as we went.


I’m completely spontaneous. I don’t really plan anything when it comes to music or art. I just go with the first thing in my head or under my fingers which are usually these bongos and songs start to build from there.


I video everything and Pomplamoose videos every final take. Between all of us we had 40 hours of footage at the end of the four days.

I’m only taking one of my three HD cameras this trip but there’s also tripods to lug, plus enough tapes to let the camera roll for three days, 3 still cameras, my MacBook, iPad, 2 mobile phones, 6 travel drives, three digital tape recorders, cords for every conceivable configuration, not to mention my clothes – I’m not the type who can wear one outfit for three days despite the fact that I’ll never be leaving the studio. My one regret is that there’s no room for the sacred bongos to come along.


6 Responses to “Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Vintage Bongos & Pomplamoose”

  1. Michael Ely

    Hope yer having a blast making music. The couple from Pomplamoose appear to be so engaging and did a wonderful and inspired version of “September.” I love the video, and their Grandma is quite the dancer!

    I first heard of you, Allee, because my partner’s sister loves the song “September” and she did a search on you, and I first heard of Pomplamoose because the same sister posted their video on her FB.

    • Allee Willis

      My suitcases are SO HEAVY it’s insane. And on top of it all I left my main drive at home with all my music files on them and I’m in Sonoma recording. So the trip is off to a CHALLENGING start!

        • Allee Willis

          I’m only here till Monday night and we start recording today. What I needed most would have been for today. I’m the type who packs for a month when I travel for a day. And most of that is equipment so I won’t be cut off. I tried to access my server remotely but music files over a 3G network or the insanely crappy wifi in this Doubletree will take a week to transfer. So I have an interesting dilemma to deal with. Plus I was up till 5 am and will be recording past midnight tonight, now starting from scratch instead of the half finished tracks that were supposed to be here. Ahhhhh, the joys of being a songwriter….