Konono No.1 from Kinshasa, Congo, was founded more than 25 years ago by likembe (thumb-piano) virtuoso Mingiedi Mawangu. The band was one of the first groups to use electric amplified likembes.
They build everything themselves. The pick-ups are made from hammered bits of car starter-motors, handwound with copper-wire, they made wooden microphones and jack-plugs from bits of copper-wire and branches. With a 25 watts amplifier on a car battery and the typical “lance voix” field speakers they play fast, powerful, distorted music with the energy and rawness of a punkband.
Konono No.1 plays music based on the tradition of the Bazombe, a tribe living on the border of Angola and Congo. Their style is also the basis of modern Congolese music like Zaiko Langa Langa. They have three likembes; solo, accompaniment and bass, three drummers; congas (ngoma), cowbells and a kind of hi-hat from metal plates, two singers, three women dancers and the mysteriously moving “president”. It is a rough type of Congolese urban music. The lyrics give bitter comment on the social situation in the Congo.
Tony van der Eecken, a Belgian Congo music specialist, phoned us up one day to offer this Congolese band Konono to play on a tour with the Ex. He thought Konono would fit better for our audience than in the regular “world-music” circuit. We didn’t know, we believed him and he was right! It was their first ever visit to the West, VERA their first ever gig in a rock club. The audience was flabbergasted, what power, sound and energy. And what volume!
This CD is a tribute to Konono No.1, to that first ever gig in Holland. It’s a rough recording, directly stereo recorded from the mixer. But the music speaks for itself. PLAY LOUD!
- Terrie Ex
Konono No. 1:
Mingiedi Mawangu : likembe solo
Makuntima Mawangu : likembe 2nd solo, vocals, percussion
Kungu Dodika : congas
Arumba Lulendo : metal percussion
Makananu Georges : vocals
Menga Waku : vocals
Kabuika Nsekula : likembe bass, percussion
Kuavita Nzimbu : bells, likembe
Kanda Mateta : percussion
Nzuzi Mbuka, Buaku "Le President" Ngingulu, Misamu Luti , Ntumba Mankueno : dancers
Recorded on 5 Feb 2003 in Vera, Groningen, Holland. Straight from the mixing board to the computer by Edwin and Koos. Live sound by Grrrt. Mastered by Colin McLean.