Konono N°1 | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper



We can thank Dutch anarchist avant-punks The Ex for this one. In fact, anyone who copped that band's 2004 LP, Turn, has at least encountered a riff nicked from this brutal Congolese ensemble. Formed some 25 years ago, Konono N°1 quickly decided to electrify its likembes (traditional thumb pianos) and transform the traditional sounds of the Congo/Angola border country into music that is danceable, yet ugly as the region is torn. The group fashioned pick-ups from car-starter motors, mike stands from tree branches, and jacked 25-watt amps into car batteries, pushing its music into the thorniest regions of dance/punk without altering the tunes played by the region's Bazombe tribe. Lubuaku is from a Vera, Holland gig, supporting The Ex, and it catches Konono N°1 in all its harshness. Bass, rhythm and lead likembes push in a blur of distortion while dancers, singers and drummers weave stories of simplicity and tragedy.


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