Posted by: Steve Coplan | July 27, 2006

Konono No 1, Summerstage

What’s endeared Konono No 1 to people for whom ‘world music’ is generally equated with kooky new agers or simply cultural exploitation (like this Stylus reviewer) is their use of ‘lance voix’ – battered old loudspeakers that distort their sound in unexpected ways, the ‘found’ nature of their instruments and a general lack of interest in the idea that a song has a beginning, a middle and an end. They performed what could have been six (or possibly five songs) over the space of an hour on Sunday where transitions seemed to a matter of consensus rather than convention. The crowd was largely indifferent, most just biding time until they could let loose for Mexico City’s beloved Maldita Vecinidad. I was one of those certainly not indifferent, like this BBC reviewer.

Unfortunately, the crap microphone on my phone amplifies the distortion, but for what it’s worth, here are a few tracks:

Lufuala Ndonga


Ungudi Wele Wele

Kulu Kulu Reprise

As a special bonus, with distortion recorded just once, a track from the new album assembled by Konono No 1 in Kinshasha:




  1. Hey Noodnik… Crammed Discs here, Konono’s label… thanks for the report & the enthusiasm… just a quick note: “Kiwembo” is not by Konono, but by another Kinshasa band called Sobanza Mimanisa… it’s from Congotronics 2, which features Konono + 6 other, likeminded bands. Cheers, m.

  2. Thanks for the clarification Marc. My assumption was that Konono No 1 played a part in selecting the bands, not that all the tracks were by them. It’s no wonder that it has been selling well. Each track is better than the next.

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