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Artist Info

Konono Nº1

Konono Nº1
Image from Discogs
Powered by Audioscrobbler™Konono Nº1 is a musical group from Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly known as Zaire). They combine three electric likembé (a traditional lamellaphone 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.

The group was formed by Mingiedi Mawangu, a likembé player and truck driver who passed away in April 2015 at the age of 85. Dates for the group's formation vary: Crammed Discs, who released Konono Nº1's Congotronics album in 2005, places the group's formation around 1980. However, in November 1978, an ensemble called Orchestre Tout Puissant Likembe Konono Nº1 (All-Powerful Likembe Konono Nº1 Orchestra) recorded one track, "Mungua-Muanga", for the compilation album Zaire: Musiques Urbaines a Kinshasa, and according to the group itself Mingiedi Mawangu formed the band in the 1960s.

Their typically Congolese repetitive beats, together with their DIY approach resulting in an (initially unintentional) distorted sound called Congotronics, has brought the group some renown in North America and Europe. They have toured both continents, documented by the 2007 album Live at Couleur Cafe.

Konono Nº1 collaborated with Björk on her 2007 album, Volta and the Dutch rock band The Ex has covered one of their songs.

Band leader Augustin Mawangu Mingiedi passed away in October 2017. His role of lead likembe player has now been passed to the 3rd generation, to Augustin's son Makonda, who is fronting the band with original singer Menga Waku.
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Artist biography from last.fm

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