November 06, 2004

At Last! Two Konono No 1 Live Albums!

Konono No 1 are a band from Kinshasa who play a traditional form of Angolan/Congolese trance music based around the sound of the likembe (a type of thumb piano). In their case, though, this sound is backed by pots-n-pans percussion, amped up with home-made mics built from magnets salvaged from car parts, and finally sent blaring through a home-brew PA based around megaphones. What emerges from all of this is a glorious, super-saturated racket of galloping rhythms, bellowed vocals and angular metal-guitar-like likembe lines.

Until recently, the most readily available recordings of Konono No 1's music were a Quicktime video of a live performance and a rather tepid demo mp3 on the Crammed Discs website. (In addition to this, there were two songs on the 1985 Musiques Urbaines Kinshasa compilation on Ocora.) Now, however, comes news that not one, but two, live Konono albums have been released. One was recorded in Kinshasa by Crammed and is being used to kick off its Congotronics series devoted to "tradi-modern" groups from Kinshasa, the other comes from a gig they did in Holland in Feb 2003. The latter recording is available through Subterranean Distribution, who have kindly posted an mp3 of one of the tracks, Ditshe Tshiekutala.

Posted by Warren at November 6, 2004 06:16 PM | World