Konono N°1 hail from Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and despite being formed in 1966 it wasn’t until 2003 that they played outside Africa. This was all thanks to a Belgian music engineer called Vincent Kenis who was recording many of the neotraditional shanty-town bands in Kinshasa at the time. He bought them to Belgium where they released Congotronics in 2005. What followed must have surprised many – the music began to inspire many collaborations amongst indie artists. At the end of 2010 a double-album titled Tradi-Mods vs Rockers: Alternative Takes on Congotronics was released as a collective tribute by 26 indie artists including Deerhoof, Animal Collective, Andrew Bird and Juana Molina. Then in 2011 they took the collaboration on the road travelling from London to Japan with Congotronics vs Rockers Tour delighting all (see our article here).
For their latest offering ‘Konono N°1 meets Batida‘ they have joined forces with acclaimed Angolan/Portuguese artist Batida aka Pedro Coquenão.
Listen to Nlele Kalusimbiko featuring AF Diaphra (vocals) and Papa Juju (guitar).
Along with producer Vincent Kenis, they convened in Batida’s garage-cum-studio in Lisbon with a series of collaborators and friends of Batida’s, reflecting the city’s vibrant, cosmopolitan music life: guitarist Papa Juju (the leader of Lisbon’s foremost Afro-fusion band Terrakota), vocalist Selma Uamusse (one of the best young African singers currently residing in Portugal) and MC AF Diaphra, a distinguished slam poet and an artist/producer in his own right.
Although based in Kinshasa, DRC, they originate from the Bakongo ethnic group, which lives in a region straddling the border between the Congo and Angola. Hence certain similarities between Konono’s rhythms and some types of Angolan music from which Batida has drawn inspiration for his albums and shows. This encounter was obviously bound to happen… but was nevertheless quite an adventure: blending the worlds of electronics beats and organic grooves was a challenge to which the parties have risen beautifully to create this exciting, unheard-of new strain of Afro-electro music. The album was jointly produced by Vincent Kenis and Pedro Coquenão, and is due for release on April 1st, 2016.
Pre-order Konono N°1 meets Batida on CD or double LP deluxe limited edition with download code here.