Konono N°1 trifft auf Batida – neues Album am 01.04.2016

Am 01.04.2016 wird das neue Album Konono N°1 meets Batida von Konono N°1 bei Crammed Discs im Vertrieb von Indigo (CD und Vinyl) und PIAS (digital) veröffentlicht. Es ist eine Zusammenarbeit der Band mit dem angolanisch-portugiesischen Künstler Pedro Coquenão aka Batida. Die Aufnahmen fanden in Batidas Garagenstudio in Lissabon statt, produziert wurde es gemeinschaftlich von Vincent Kenis und Pedro Coquenão und eine Reihe illustrer Gäste aus der Lissaboner Musikszene ist auf dem Album zu hören: Neben Papa Juju, Kopf der bekanntesten Afro-Fusion-Band der Stadt und der afrikanischen Sängerin Selma Uamusse, auch der Slampoet, Künstler und Produzent MC AF Diaphra.

Auf dem Album verbinden sich die Electronic Beats und organischen Grooves der Künstler zu einer ganz neuen, so bislang noch nie gehörten Form von Afro-Electro-Musik.


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Konono N°1 wurde in den 1960er Jahren als „L’Orchestre Folklorique Tout Puissant Konono N°1“ von Mingiedi Mawangu, einem Virtuosen auf der Likembe (= Daumenklavier), in Kinshasa gegründet. In den 1980er Jahren wurde der erste Track der Band außerhalb des Kongo auf einer Compilation namens Musiques Urbaines a Kinshasa in Zaïre veröffentlicht und der belgische Produzent und Musiker Vincent Kenis war so fasziniert davon, dass er für lange Jahre versuchte, die Band ausfindig zu machen. Das gelang ihm erst in den frühen 2000er Jahren und mündete 2004 in der Veröffentlichung des ersten Congotronics-Albums. Der hypnotische und neue Sound der Band mit ihren elektrisch verstärkten Daumenklavieren und der wilden Rhythmus-Gruppe eroberte direkt die Indie- und Elektronik-Szene. Auftritte bei großen Rockfestivals wie Coachella, ATP, Sonar oder The Big Chill, gemeinsame Projekte mit Künstlern wie Björk oder Herbie Hancock folgten, Bands wie Grizzly Bear, Wilco, Animal Collective, Beck oder Thom Yorke nannten sie als großen Einfluss und für ihre Zusammenarbeit mit Herbie Hancock an dem Album The Imagine Project bekam sie 2011 einen Grammy. Ein für den Grammy nominiertes Live-Album (Live at Couleur Café) erschien 2008 und das nächste Studioalbum Assume Crash Position 2010. Mawangu ist mittlerweile verstorben und sein Sohn Augustin ist seitdem Kopf der Band.

Konono N°1 sind:
Augustin Makuntima Mawangu: Likembe, Vocals
Menga Waku: Vocals, Bass-Likembe

Pauline Mbuka Nsiala: Vocals, Percussion
Vincent Visi: Schlagzeug
Jacques Ndofusu Mbiyavanga: Percussion, Tam Tam

Batida ist der Künstlername von Pedro Coquenão, einem Radio-, Dokumentarfilm- und Musikproduzenten, der in Angola geboren wurde und in Lissabon aufgewachsen ist. Sein Alias wurde von dem DIY-Geist der auf den Straßen Luandas verkauften Compilations inspiriert. Zwei Alben hat er bislang auf dem Label Soundway Records veröffentlicht und dafür viel Lob erhalten. So schrieb Songlines: „This could be the record that changes the African electronic music of the 21st century”. Künstler wie Stromae boten ihm an, als Support auf seiner Tour aufzutreten; Damon Albarn lud ihn zu seinem Africa Express-Projekt ein und engagierte ihn für einige Remixe.

Vincent Kenis ist der Initiator und Produzent der Congotronics-Serie von Crammed Discs. Er hat alle Alben von Konono N°1 seit 2004 produziert wie auch die Alben von Kasai Allstars, Staff Benda Bilili, Zap Mama, Taraf de Haïdouks, Tartit und anderen. Als Musiker hat er in den Bands Aksak Maboul und The Honeymoon Killers mitgewirkt und mit Musikern aus dem Kongo wie Franco Luambo Makiadi (OK Jazz) und Papa Wemba zusammengearbeitet.

Tourdaten Frühjahr 2016:

17.05.2016 Ludwigshafen / Pfalzbau
18.05.2016 Aachen /Musikbunker
19.05.2016 Hamburg / Kampnagel
20.05.2016 Berlin / HAU
21.05.2016 Leipzig / Schauspiel Leipzig
22.05.2016 PL-Warszawa / Pardon, To Tu
23.05.2016 PL-Warszawa / Pardon, To Tu
27.05.2016 SE-Stockholm / Fasching
28.05.2016 SE-Göteborg / Oceanen
25.06.2016 DK-Roskilde / Museum of Contemporary Art – Images 2016 by Roskilde Festival
Booking: http://www.planetrock-booking.de/

Pedro Coqueñao (Batida) über die Arbeit an Konono N°1 Meets Batida:
I remember mixing Konono tunes with beats on my first broadcasts back in 2007. At the time I had no plans for using this alias (Batida) for anything else than a radio program, aimed at highlighting what I felt was a missing link between the idea of traditional African music and urban music which had been coming out of some of the main cities of the continent for so many years. I always felt that there was a condescendent way of looking at music made in Africa, always seen as “ethnic”, tribal or just vaguely as „world music”. Konono represent things I relate to and admire. A simple idea which crosses boundaries, time and ages. My oil can, which is my main instrument (sampler), represents an MPC while also being inspired from a Konono likembe (thumb piano). On my first album, the track „Tribalismo” was definitely inspired by K1’s sound, for example.

At my concerts, I had my own kalimba going through a Big Muff pedal, linked to an amp, looking for a similar K1 effect. So, yes, I am a fan and was honored by the invitation that came late 2014, when Marc Hollander (Crammed boss and A&R man) saw my show at Womex and something clicked in his head and he challenged me to make an album together with K1. The idea made sense in my head and heart too. Lots of pressure though. Too much respect for the band but it was impossible to say no. So I asked to meet them again, I wanted to feel that I was welcomed within the group so this wouldn’t turn into a sterile collaboration. Met them and their team in Belgium and they were all very friendly and warm. We talked about lyrics, the stories behind each song, and we tried to overcome the language barrier as I don’t speak proper French and no Lingala. Augustin does know some words of Portuguese, due to his Angolan connections: „Tinto!” Another show later, we scheduled a meeting in Lisbon to record together with (Konono producer) Vincent Kenis and, due to weather circumstances we ended up in my garage to break the ice (and cold) and the guys asked for my humble place to become the launching pad for the whole process: „Feels like home here!” they all said. I think it was mostly because of my grandfather’s heater, which I always keep close and on maximum power during winter. That and the hot chocolate. In fact, they were all exhausted after a long tour. That part was hard to deal with as I don’t like to push, so we took it slowly, talking about each track. Many hot chocolates later, we jammed, tried new things, added my drum kit, a synth, brought in a few special guests, and after 2 shows and some love on stage, we had some juice. Maybe it was all of that or maybe it was just the fact that the sun finally came but, over the last days, we recorded my favorite takes which ended up featuring on the album. It was challenging but in the end music is what brings us together and makes it easy to communicate and go through.

The record was then finalized during the summer, 5 months later in the south of Spain with Vincent (Gracias, Vicente! Por compartir su casa y cuentos preciosos). Many home cooked meals and talks on Congo and Angola but no time to go to beach though. Had agreed with Augustin and the band that we would need a ‚thumbs up’ from them to feel they were happy with the results and ended up with this one: Actually we communicated a lot through our big finger and a particular scale to tell each other how things were going every day and going through every track. I will always keep for myself the first jam we had when I introduced them to the dikanza (a kind of big Angolan guiro) and we had a go all together. In the end I had all the guys laughing because I fell on the floor after playing the same pattern over and over for… (who knows?) maybe half an hour : ) It was like my garage ritual of initiation to K1 and to understand better how to get there. Thank you, Pauline, Augustin, Menga, Visi, Jacques and Vincent.

Vincent Kenis über die Arbeit an Konono N°1 Meets Batida:
At the turn of the Eighties, cassettes of Einstürzende Neubauten’s industrial noise, Mozart’s Zauberflöte and Konono’s likembes filled The Honeymoon Killers’ touring van; I had captured Konono Numéro Un by chance on a France Culture broadcast in which Bernard Treton, freshly returned from a one year stay as an aid worker for the Zairean radio, presented the tapes he had recorded in the streets of Kinshasa. The liquid, seemingly effortless but hyper-precise Les Paul-esque repetitive melodies and clusters of the likembe thumb piano seemed to echo the Congolese electric guitar style of the times, but the strange, untempered scales, earth-shattering harmonic distortion of the makeshift amplification and merciless drive of the bells and minimal drum kit were totally new to anybody’s ears outside of Ndjili, a neighbourhood favoured by Angolan refugees such as Konono.

The Treton tapes were released in 1986 by the French label Ocora on cassette but not on vinyl, because Treton couldn’t resolve to edit the songs to LP-compatible lengths. Also featured were Orchestre Sankayi, whose leader Mbuyamba Nyunyi would become later a key element in Kasai Allstars.

When I landed in 1989 in Kinshasa, Koffi Olomide asked me to join his band as a keyboard player. He was so successful that most bars played his songs all the time, so I barely needed to rehearse; I decided to spend my free time criss-crossing the suburbs in search of that exciting, electrically-enhanced traditional music revealed by Treton’s tapes. I learned that it was locally called musique tradi-moderne and that its most successful current exponents were no other than Classic Swede Swede, the band Koffi had chosen as opening act for his next two gigs. More adventurous criss-crossing lead me to ‚discover’ a lot of original and exciting bands, but, alas, not Konono. Some guy
told me that they were „back in Angola”. Only in the year 2000 did I hear by chance a loud Konono sound coming from a backyard. It was only a cassette, but its owner knew the band and told me that they would be „back from Angola soon”. Six months later, a rejuvenated Tout Puissant Konono Numéro Un emerged in full working order; it turned out that they had never left Kinshasa. 2 years later, and a quarter of a century after Treton, I could finally record the band in all its multitrack glory. The rest, as they say, is mystery.

Konono’s first two albums were recorded in one shot in rehearsing places or during European concerts. The third one featured a lot of overdubs done in my Ndjili hotel room by musicians from very diverse backgrounds, including an international soukous guitar hero, a young boys band from the area and two likembe players from Kasai. The idea was diversification rather than a musical dialogue Konono were still too much in their own bubble to need or appreciate. Although their session with Björk had lasted only a few hours, their jam with Herbie Hancock 40 unforgettable minutes lost forever – they certainly introduced Konono to totally new worlds; but only the year after that, when they were invited to be part of the Congotronics vs Rockers project, did they really confront at length with American-European musical culture, playing live for weeks in front of thousands with Deerhoof, Juana Molina, Skeleton Mité etc., and also with members of Kasai Allstars, leading to the collective creation of musical landscapes as yet unheard. This adventure whetted Konono’s appetite for more musical encounters.

The collaborative project with Batida presented new challenges: despite the obvious similarities between rhythmic Bazombo music such as Konono’s and the Angolan music which inspired Pedro (the same ethnic groups inhabit the region, artificially separated by a border dating back to colonial times), it was the meeting of two very different practices, two almost opposite musical conceptions: Konono’s rhythms are organic and fluctuating, while those of Batida, which come from the electronic music scene, are often based on metronomic grids.

Being the de facto translator between two different worlds with wholly different languages, working habits, categories, vocabulary, references and music software proved to be a real challenge… We nevertheless managed to establish a dialogue, either by adapting Pedro’s programming to the rhythmic flow of the group or vice versa, and by having his electronic sounds triggered by Konono’s percussion players. It was an exciting process, successfully carried out thanks to the enthusiasm of everybody involved: Konono N°1, Batida, his guests and friends.

Weitere Informationen:

Das neue Album: Konono N°1 meets Batida
VÖ: 01.04.2016
Label: Crammed Discs
Vertriebe: Indigo (CD) / PIAS (digital)
Bestellnummer: cram 261 cd+2LP+digital
EAN: 876623007340 (CD), 876623007357 (Vinyl), 5410377903784 (Digital)
Labelcode: 08689

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