Congotronics Continued

13/10/2015Famed Electric Thumb Piano Virtuosos Announce New Album

If you have yet to experience Konono No. 1's 2004 "Congotronics" debut on Belgian imprint Crammed Discs, then stop what you are doing and tune in asap. The groundbreaking album "introduced the world to the strange and spectacular electro-traditional mixtures being concocted in the suburbs of Kinshasa, Congo", by a band originally founded back in the 1960s by Mingiedi Mawangu, a legendary Iikembé (a traditional instrument consisting of metal rods attached to a resonator) player himself, who passed away earlier this year at the age of 85.

Mingiedi (standing to the far left in the picture above) invented the electric Iikembé, which went on to define the band's unique sound, with a repertoire drawing largely on Bazombo trance music. The band's line-up includes "two or three electric likembés (bass, medium and treble), a rhythm section which uses traditional as well as makeshift percussion (pans, pots and car parts), singers, dancers and a sound system featuring megaphones dating from the colonial period".

Today, the group announced their new album, to be released next spring and produced by Angolan/Portuguese producer Pedro Coquenão alias Batida. They also shared a short trailer documenting the recording process via Facebook, which you can see below. We are very much looking forward to hearing the final results. In the meantime, you might want to check out this year's Boiler Room performance.

// image via planet rock

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom