Sometimes words fail to describe a band or concert experience that was so foreign to my ears. Konono #1 was that type of experience. Sweat-covered, I wasn’t sure what I had experienced, other than I really liked it.
The music had constant meringue-techno trance beat which kept most people in the joint moving, and others standing still trying to figure out what was happening.
Vincent Kenis, the band’s producer, in an interview with the Guardian described the music best as,
“what sounded like an electronic version of the traditional trance music of the Congo’s Bazombi tribe, laced with feedback and distorted almost beyond recognition. “To me it was a kind of African punk music,” he says.”
Another person who attended the concert yesterday described it as extreme trance.
For me it was a hypnotic experience, the brash style was hard for me to initially wrap my ears around, but the constant beat and watching the band play brought me in. It was a great show to watch. To describe the sight, I turn to Wikipedia –
They combine three electric likembé (a traditional instrument similar to the mbira) with voices, dancers, and percussion instruments that are made out of items salvaged from a junkyard. The group’s amplification equipment is equally rudimentary, including a microphone carved out of wood fitted with a magnet from an automobile alternator and a gigantic horn-shaped amplifier.
The band has a fascinating history and the fact that they are together after all of the strife and civil unrest taking place in the Congo is nothing short of amazing. I’ll go in to that later posting.
The bands’ website offers even more images.