Konono No1


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  • country:Congo (Democratic Republic of the)
  • region:Central Africa
  • style(s):Traditional
  • label:Crammed Discs
  • artist submitted by:Divano Production


Konono No1 was founded over 25 years
ago by Mingiedi, a virtuoso of the likembe (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 likembes
(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 wellas 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.

The first album by Konono N1 has been
recorded by Vincent Kenis (definitely the
right person for the job: he is a great
connoisseur of Congolese music, he has
produced albums by Zap Mama, Taraf de
Haidouks & Kocani Orkestar, and has also
been playing a key part in the sonic design
of many albums of electronic music on

The Konono N1 album (Craw27) is the first
volume of Crammed's new series
Congotronics, which is devoted to electrified
traditional music from Kinshasa.


"LIVE at COULEUR CAFE" - Konono No1