Boomkat Product Review:
Talk about a classic, this collection of tracks from legendary African band Konono No.1 is as classic as they come. The band was originally formed by Mawangu Mingiedi in the late 1970s and was particularly groundbreaking thanks to the use of home-made amplifiers which they hooked up to custom-modified Likembes (thumb pianos) which were accompanied by percussion made from abandoned car parts. You have no doubt already guessed that the sound is not your strictly traditional African music, rather Konono No.1 with their electrified instruments sound like an African take on experimental rock music or even electronics. Although the songs might take a traditional trance-based structure, as they build through the highs and lows there is a distinct feeling that this is something fresh, something truly exciting. And then there's the live shows - you see Konono No.1 might be wired up, but they're a live band and have a handful of dancers in their regular lineup who add a visual flair (and some eye candy) to the show, showing there's more to life than a laptop and a clicking mouse. If you've never heard Konono No.1 before then I urge you to start here, even if you have had no prior contact with African music, 'Congotronics' is an essential album for any self-respecting music fan. It's important, crucial in fact to hear what these guys have done in a cut off society without the constant prod of Western influence. Amazing stuff, and about as essential as they come - buy it!