Musician & producer Vincent Kenis has played a key role at Crammed Discs since the early days. The label's roots can be traced back to a musical project called Aksak Maboul, which originally consisted of Vincent and Crammed boss Marc Hollander. Back in 1977, they released an album entitled Onze Danses pour combattre la migraine in which they were playing around with primitive electronics, fake jazz, and elements of African and Balkan music... and which can retrospectively be seen as a blueprint for many directions later explored by Crammed. In the early '80s, Vincent was also a member of The Honeymoon Killers.

In 1983, Vincent coproduced another seminal album: the visionary electro/African album "Noir & Blanc" by Zazou Bikaye (which was described at the time by the UK press as "Fela Kuti meets Kraftwerk on the dancefloor"). Vincent then went on the produce the first album by Zap Mama, and several albums by Balkan Gypsy bands Taraf de Haïdouks and Koçani Orkestar, while also being involved in the sonic design of many Crammed releases, including albums by Bebel Gilberto, Tuxedomoon, Cibelle, Zuco 103, as well as the label's purely electronic output (on its SSR imprint).

Vincent Kenis' real love is for Central African music though, and he's regularly been traveling in Congo over the years, becoming very familiar with the wealth of musical styles which can be found in what he calls "the real land of 1000 dances"... he went to the rainforest to stay with the Baka Pygmies, to study and record their music. He also became an authority on urban Congolese music (known as Soukous or Rumba Rock), and even played guitar and keyboards in bands led by Congolese stars such as Franco (OK Jazz), Papa Wemba and Koffi Olomide. He's compiled three albums of early '50s Congolese pop (recently re-issued as the Roots Of Rumba Rock double CD).

In the last few years, Vincent Kenis has turned his attention to this hybrid, electro-traditional style exemplified by Konono N°1. He had heard a recording of the band in the late 70s, and has tried to locate them during the next 20 years… When he finally found them, he encouraged them to record, and produced the Congotronics album. Vincent then produced the "Buzz'n'Rumble in the Urban Jungle" album (Congotronics 2), which features audio and video recordings of five other bands who practise that amazing style. His Konono N°1 productions obtained a BBC World Music Award and a nomination for a Grammy. After producing an album by Malian Touareg band Tartit and mixing the latest Taraf de Haïdouks opus (Maskarada), Vincent has resumed work on several productions with Congolese bands, including the amazing Kasai Allstars, whose debut album "In the 7th moon, the chief turned into a swimming fish and ate the head of his enemy by magic" (2008) was acclaimed by the international press, and the none less charismatic Staff Benda Bilili who, following the release of their debut album "Très Très Fort" in 2009, have become one of the great global success stories.




Selected  Vincent Kenis Discography


Producer and/or Mixer

Staff Benda Bilili           "Bouger Le Monde" (2012)

Jagwa Music                "Bongo Hotheads" [mix only] (2012)

The Karindula Sessions: Tradi-Modern Sounds from Southeast Congo (2011)

Konono N°1                  "Assume Crash Position" (2010)
 
Staff Benda Bilili           "Tres Tres Fort" (2009)

Koçani Orkestar            "The Ravished Bride" [mix only] (2008)

Kasai Allstars                 "In the 7th Moon…" (2008)

Konono N°1                    "Live at Couleur Café" (2007)

Taraf de Haïdouks          "Maskarada" (2007)

Tartit                               "Abacabok" (2006)

Various Artists                "Congotronics 2" (2006)

Konono N°1                    "Congotronics" (2004)

Taraf de Haïdouks           "Band Of Gypsies" (2001)

Koçani Orkestar               "Alone At My Wedding" (2001)

Taraf de Haïdouks            "Dumbala Dumba" (1998)

Koçani Orkestar               "L'Orient est rouge" (1997)

Taraf de Haïdouks            "Bandits d'honneur, chevaux magiques…" (1994)

Zap Mama                        "Zap Mama" (1991)

Taraf de Haïdouks            "Musique des Tsiganes de Roumanie" (1991)

Classic Swede Swede      "Toleki Bango (Miles Ahead)" (1991)

John Lurie                        "Down By Law" (original soundtrack from the Jarmusch film) [mix only] (1987)
 


Co-producer / musician / compiler


Various Artists            "Roots of Rumba Rock vol.1+vol.2" (1993/2006)

Various Artists            "Roots of OK Jazz" (1994/2010)

Hector Zazou              "Sahara Blue" (1992)

Foreign Affair              "East On Fire" (1990)

Sonoko                        "La Débutante" (1987)
 
Zazou Bikaye              "Mr Manager" (1985)

Aksak Maboul              tracks in "Made To Measure Vol.1" (1983)

Zazou Bikaye              "Noir et Blanc" (1983)

The Honeymoon Killers "Les Tueurs de la lune de miel" (1982)

Aksak Maboul              "Onze danses pour combattre la migraine" (1977)

 
Awards & nominations

Staff Benda Bilili         WOMEX Artist Award (2009)
Konono N°1                Grammy Award nomination (2007)
Konono N°1                BBC Award for World Music (2006)
Taraf de Haïdouks      BBC Award for World Music (2002)
Zap Mama                  Grammy Award nomination (1995)

News

No current news for Vincent Kenis available!

Live Dates

No current live dates available!

Contributions

16 Visions of Ex-Futur - Véronique Vincent & Aksak Maboul [cram271] Alone At My Wedding - Kocani Orkestar [CRAW25] Assume Crash Position - Konono No.1 [craw60] Band Of Gypsies - Taraf de Haidouks [CRAW24] Beware the Fetish - Kasai Allstars [cram233] Bongo Hotheads - Jagwa Music [craw80] Bouger le Monde ! - Staff Benda Bilili [craw81] Buzz'n'Rumble From The Urb'n'Jungle - Congotronics [CRAW29] Chez les Aborigenes - Véronique Vincent & Aksak Maboul [cram246] Congotronics 1 - Konono No.1 [CRAW27] Congotronics Vinyl Box Set - Congotronics [craw63] Congotronics vs Rockers - Congotronics vs Rockers [CTvR] Dumbala Dumba - Taraf de Haidouks [CRAW21] Ex-Futur Album - Véronique Vincent & Aksak Maboul [cram014] Honourable Brigands, Magic Horses & Evil Eye - Taraf de Haidouks [CRAW13] In The 7th Moon, The Chief Turned Into... - Kasai Allstars [CRAW44] Konono No.1 meets Batida - Konono No.1 [cram261] L'Orient Est Rouge - Kocani Orkestar [CRAW19] Les Tueurs de la Lune de Miel - The Honeymoon Killers [CRAM103] Live At Couleur Cafe - Konono No.1 [CRAW45] Made To Measure Vol.1 - Various Artists [MTM01] Miles Ahead (Toleki Bango) - Classic Swede Swede [CRAW01] Mr Manager - Zazou/Bikaye/CY1 [cram039] Musique des Tziganes de Roumanie - Taraf de Haidouks [CRAW02] Noir et Blanc - Zazou/Bikaye/CY1 [CRAM105] Of Lovers, Gamblers and Parachute Skirts - Taraf de Haidouks [cram237] Onze danses pour combattre la migraine - Aksak Maboul [CRAM101] Out Of Tuva - Sainkho [CRAW06] Roots of OK Jazz - Congo Classics [craw67] Roots Of Rumba Rock - Congo Classics [CRAW33] Sabsylma - Zap Mama [CRAW12] Sahara Blue - Hector Zazou [MTM32] The Karindula Sessions - Karindula [craw70] The Ravished Bride - Kocani Orkestar [CRAW46] Tres Tres Fort - Staff Benda Bilili [CRAW51] Un peu de l'âme des bandits - Aksak Maboul [CRAM002] Zap Mama - Zap Mama [CRAW03]