Wednesday, March 23, 2005


Konono No. 1 started off as a group playing traditional music of their native Congo, Africa, decided to experiment with electronics to amplify their sound, and then things got weird. Most African music is either acoustic traditional, or slick modern pop, but Konono No. 1 (are there more?) have a hard, noisy sound and berserk energy level the likes of which I've never heard before. The poor but resourceful crew cobbled together home-made microphones and speakers, resulting in a distortion-drenched sound, and fashioned percussion instruments out of pots, pans, and auto parts, as can be seen on the Crammed Disk Records website. The traditional instrument the thumb-piano is hand-held - small metal rods are plucked with the thumb to go "boing" - but when played loud and distorted sound more like an electric guitar. Songs like "Lufuala Ndonga" come off like a band of witch doctors playing Ministry covers. (Three minutes in the fun really starts.)

Ears stopped ringing? Then check out "Paradiso," which answers the question: What would it sound like if Carlos Santana took speed and was limited to only 8 notes?


Mr Fab said...

I just realized I've listened to this album three days in a row - very rare for me. I'm just absolutly fascinated by it. This music is so simple and effective that I imagine that, like punk, everyone who hears it starts their own Congotronic band.

Anonymous said...

Has Paul Simon heard this stuff ? there's a new Simon and Garfunkel album in there, somewhere...excellent music...makes me wanna re-decorate my condo all night...naked. It has a lot of depth and soul.
- KB

Anonymous said...

Great stuff - I'm gonna introduce it to all my buddies at the office too

Anonymous said...

Heard these guys last night on Radio 4 in the UK and only caught the name Congotronic. Thanks for the links. These guys are shit hot. Check out the video of them on the Crammed Disc site. Apparently they cant get visa's to come to Europe after Papa Wembas musical immigrant scam which seems a shame. The stage show would be worth the health and safety nightmare alone!

DC Peaches said...

This music is awesome. Thanks for publicizing it. I like your blog, too

Anyone who wants to check out my blog (or link to it) can go to

It's not unopinionated, but, it tries to be objective, though it is also subjective.

My musical taste includes but is not limited to: Antje Duvekot( and, Bela Flec, Spearhead and Michael Franti(, Lisa Loebb( and, Meg Hutchinson( viewprofile&friendid=37048179)

a new instrument that I have discovered is the nyckelharpa

and, some websites that I really like are: odeo, KCRW,,, for those of you in DC, and my Google home (of course)to name a few

I just wrote a new song, and plan to play it tonight at an open mic.

I would like to encourage all of you out there to do all that you can to help heal societal ills. One that I plan to focus on in the near future is homelessness. Music is a good force in this conflict

I hope I help to raise someone's spirit with this post.

All for now,

DC Peaches