Konono N°1’s “Congotronics” album introduced the world to the strange and spectacular electro-traditional mixtures which are being concocted in the suburbs of Kinshasa, Congo. World music, electronica and avant-rock aficionados have all been equally amazed by this otherworldly music, which has driven the international press to come up with some surprising comparisons (from Can and Krautrock to Jimi Hendrix, Lee Perry and proto-techno!…).
The band was founded back in the 1960s by Mingiedi, a virtuoso of the likembé (a traditional instrument sometimes called “sanza” or “thumb piano”, consisting of metal rods attached to a resonator). The band’s line-up includes three electric likembés (bass, medium and treble), equipped with hand-made microphones built from magnets salvaged from old car parts, and plugged into amplifiers. There’s also a rhythm section which uses traditional as well as makeshift percussion (pans, pots and car parts), three singers, three dancers and a sound system featuring these famous megaphones.
The musicians come from an area which sits right across the border between Congo and Angola. Their repertoire draws largely on Bazombo trance music, but they’ve had to incorporate the originally-unwanted distorsions of their sound system. This has made them develop a unique style which, from a sonic viewpoint, has accidentally connected them with the aesthetics of the most experimental forms of rock and electronic music, as much through their sounds than through their sheer volume (they play in front of a wall of speakers) and their merciless grooves.
Konono N°1’s debut album was the inaugural release in Crammed’s Congotronics series, which is devoted to the exciting electro/traditional musical hybrids from the Congo.
The band appeared on the second album in the series, the multi-artist CD+DVD entitled “Congotronics 2: Buzz’n’Rumble From The Urb’n’Jungle” (2005).
The live album “Live at Couleur Café” came out in 2007 and was nominated for a Grammy in 2008.
Konono’s second, official full-length is “Assume Crash Position” (2010).
The group collaborated with Björk on the song “Earth Intruders” from her studio album, Volta. They also accompanied her on her promotional tour for the album in 2007.
Konono Nº1 collaborated on “Imagine” for the 2010 Herbie Hancock album, The Imagine Project along with Seal, P!nk, India.Arie, Jeff Beck, Oumou Sangare and others. The song earned the Grammy Award for “Best Pop Collaboration”.
In November 2010, Crammed Discs released “Tradi-Mods Vs. Rockers”, a multi-artist album containing interpretations, covers and tributes to the music of Kasai Allstars, Konono No1 and other Congotronics bands, recorded by 26 indie rock and electronic musicians, including a.o. Deerhoof, Animal Collective, Andrew Bird, Juana Molina, Shackleton, Megafaun, Aksak Maboul, Mark Ernestus and others.
In 2011, Konono N°1 took part in the Congotronics vs Rockers project, a “superband” including ten Congolese and ten indie rock musicians (also including members of Deerhoof, Wildbirds & Peacedrums, Kasai Allstars, Skeletons and Juana Molina), who collaborated to create a common repertoire and performed at 15 major festivals and venues in ten countries.
‘Feverishly pulsing percussion… this is music with its feet planted firmly on the street’ (The Wire).
Bookings are closed for this event. No tickets will be sold at the door