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).
Konono No 1 | Paradiso
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.
Konono No 1 | Lufuala Ndonga
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.
Sinkane | Warm Spell
“There’s a place for us scattered and uprooted peoples,” says Sinkane mainman Ahmed Gallab, “a place we can all know as home, with elements of all our homes.” That place, as it turns out, is Mars, after which Sinkane named their first album.
On one level, Mars is dense with deep, polyrhythmic grooves that hail directly to Africa, on another level, it’s a 21st century party record that acknowledges the global music village in which we all now live. The music of Mars is kinetic, sexy and catchy. But at its core, it’s one man’s way of working through a very American story.
Sinkane | Jeeper Creeper
The name Sinkane comes from J. Ivy’s verse on Kanye West’s “Never Let Me Down” —”I want to give us ‘Us Free’ like Cinqué,” a reference to Joseph Cinqué, who led the Amistad rebellion.
Gallab misheard “Cinqué” as “Sinkane,” figuring it was “some monolithic African god like Shaka Zulu or something.” By the time he figured out the mistake, he already had a name for his musical project.
Konono No 1 & Sinkane LIVE
presented by “Since the devil is gone, I mostly feel lonely” & Digital in Berlin
Dj Team: J-Du and Jimmy Trash
Thursday, 11 April 2013 | 20:00 CET
Festsaal Kreuzberg | Skalitzer Str. 130 | 10999 Berlin/Kreuzberg