I have seen this band twice now, the first at Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt, around 2009, where they played a long-form, track-less continuous set where the unbelievable ecstatic energy just kept building and building — just when you think it can not possibly get any more hype, the drummers would kick it up another notch – the electric mbiras sending out ever greater waves of rhythmelody.
Second time i played after them in Leipzig, Ut Connewitz (photos), Feb. 2011. This time it was songs, and they had a deeper, lower register and lower tempo, almost rock’n’roll sound, with the amplified mbiras sounding at times like the epic overtones of RHYS CHATHAM’s 1000 electric guitars.
this 1 hour long sound-board recording from Stadtgarten Cologne May 14th 2010 is truly delicious: great quality and fully capturing their magic – i like it better than their studio albums (for sure Konono needs to be experienced live to truly understand their unique power and finesse)
sorry, link taken down at Crammed Disc’s request.
instead, i will upload the mother lode: the first recording of this music ever, the amazing and super rare original 2+ hours long double tape release of the various groups which are closely related to and later became today’s version of Konono No. 1, recorded in 1978 and released in 1985, from which the legendary Ocora CD (73 minutes in duration) was culled (which, at the time of release, re-ignited interest in the group and made possible their international success today). The CD has always been one of my favorite albums in any genre, and now we have the much longer original recordings! (thanks to the one they call Bolingo).
original tape cover and back below. but in addition to the 4 half hour long tracks listed, the version we have here, for an unknown reason, has a great extra 15 minute long 5th track!
01 Animation Bana Luya 28’50 Orchestre Bana Luya
02 Animation Kifuti 28’33 Orchestre Bambala
03 Kuata Nkuaka 28’16 Orcheste Sankai
04 Mungua-Muanga 28’41 Orchestre T.P. Likembe Konoko (sic!)
05 Animation (unnamed) 15’14 Orch. T.P.Tulu Lisanga Banganga (extra track!)
Vincent Kenis the producer of Konono and the Congotronics CD’s:
“I first heard the group in 1979 on a France Culture broadcast and was blown away. Soon after I played the music to Congolese musician Ray Lema, claiming rather provokingly that this was “the Congolese music of the future.” … The France Culture recordings, produced by Bernard Treton, came out in 1985 on Radio France’s label Ocora (Musiques Urbaines a Kinshasa). Only 15 years later did I finally get a chance to see the group live.
In 1989 I went to Kinshasa & looked for Konono No. 1 and Muyamba Nyunyi (also featured on Treton’s tapes) but couldn’t find them. I did meet Swede Swede, another “tradi-modern” group with whom I recorded the album Toleki Bango in Brussels the following year — this was my first job as a producer … In Kin again in 1996 I was told that Konono No. 1 had ceased their activities and were scattered between Congo and Angola. Then in 2000 the president of their fan club told me that the group was expected to return from Angola soon. I left a note and promised I’d be back in a few months. In July Le Tout Puissant Likembe Konono No. 1 was ready for an audition, complete with 3 electric likembes, a drumkit made of hub caps, and a PA system made of two “lance-voix” (“voice-throwers,” i.e. megaphones used by the Belgian colonizers before independence to diffuse radio broadcasts in the streets) which were probably the same ones featured on the 1978 recordings. I like to think that Konono No. 1 partly owes its resurrection to me — but I suppose this is a favorite fantasy of all producers!” (continue reading here. and even more here)
seriously doubt anyone will have a problem with this share, as monolithic and golden as it is, since this tape was soon out of print after release, and the CD version by now as well, after the great museum of Ocora went out of business (another sure sign of our certain collective doom).
and here are 2 excerpts from the documentary film, thanks to Crammed: