"Buzz'n'Rumble From The Urb'n'Jungle"
1. Wa Muluendu (Masanka Sankayi/Kasai Allstars)
2. Koyile / Nyeka Nyeka (Kasai Allstars)
3. Kiwembo (Sobanza Mimanisa)
4. Kabuangoyi (Kasai Allstars)
5. Soif conjugale (Kisanzi Kongo)
6. Le Laboureur (Masanka Sankayi)
7. Bosamba Ndeke (Bolia We Ndenge)

The Konono N°1 album (Congotronics 1)  started giving worldwide exposure to the strange and spectacular electro-traditional mixtures which are being concocted in the suburbs of Kinshasa, Congo. World music, electronica and avant-rock aficionados were equally amazed by this otherworldly music, which drove the international press to come up with extremely surprising comparisons (from Can and Krautrock to Jimi Hendrix, Lee Perry and proto-techno...).

Hot on the footsteps of Congotronics 1 came the second volume, a fresh selection of even more amazing sounds, courtesy of no less than 6 electro-traditional bands from Kinshasa, which have all been especially recorded and produced by Crammed’s Vincent Kenis. These bands all draw on traditional trance music, to which they’ve incorporated heavily-distorted sounds generated by DIY amplification of their instruments... just like Konono N°1, except that the instrumentation, timbres and rhythms used by these bands are relatively diverse: the trademark electrified thumb pianos and megaphones are joined by an array of distorted drums, swirling guitars and hypnotic balafons.

The Congotronics 2 album includes a 41-minute DVD based on material filmed by Vincent Kenis while he recorded these bands in Kinshasa, adn edited by Elsa Dahmani.

The subtitle of this album hints to the legendary Ali-Foreman boxing fight which took place in Kinshasa in 1974, and was nicknamed "Rumble In The Jungle". James Brown, BB King, Fania All Stars and Myriam Makeba performed there around that event, which had a deep impact on a whole generation of young Congolese musicians and fans.

Congotronics 2 has also been released on vinyl, only as part of the limited-edition 7-vinyl Congotronics Vinyl Box Set available from the Crammed online store

About the bands

Kasai Allstars: A province the size of France situated in the center of Congo, Kasai is well known for its diamond fields and vivid musical traditions. This collective of artists incorporates members from four different Kasaian bands, including Basokin and Masanka Sankayi, who also appear separately on this album, and personalities as diverse as singer Muambuyi (from West Kasai), and singer/dancer/slit drum player Tandjolo from the Tetela region (picture left).   

Masanka Sankayi: dancers, singers and story-tellers Mbuyamba Nyunyi and Kabongo Kisense from East Kasai have been together since the Seventies. Muyamba the preacher is also an excellent bass likembe player. Unlike Konono's, his instrument is a 20" square box featuring half a likembe on each side and on which he sits in a foetus-like position. Both pieces were recorded at Porte Rouge, in the Matonge district. The song in French is Kabongo's very own rendition of a XVIIe century fable by Jean de la Fontaine.

Sobanza Mimanisa ('orchestra of light') are the resident band in Nganda Boboto, in the Selembao district where we recorded this piece. There are only five instruments here: a bell, a whistle, a spray can being hit against a plastic beer case, a guitar - whose 'power chord' style is very unusual in Kinshasa - and a likembe which manages to play the bass and solo parts at the same time.  

Kisanzi Congo’s line-up is similar to Konono’s, and they also come from the Bacongo province. But whereas Konono's electric likembes use raw power to carry their message, Kisanzi Congo rely more on virtuosity and adopt a freer form. We recorded this piece in a deserted shopping mall in the center of Kinshasa, formerly called Galerie des Trois Z (“Zaire - our country, our river, our currency”). 

Basokin ('the Basongye from Kinshasa') are from the Songye region, at the Eastern fringe of Kasai. Their frontman Mputu Ebondo 'Mi Amor' is a well-known spokesman for the Songye and Kasaian community. On this particular session, recorded at Porte Noire, in the Matonge district, Basokin’s line-up was reduced to its essential components: three singers, three percussion players and two guitarists.  

Bolia We Ndenge come from the Lake Mai Ndombe. Only a century ago, the whole region was still Domaine de la Couronne, i.e a giant labor camp for the personal benefit of King Leopold II. At one point, to calm discontent, the force publique gave accordions to local chiefs; the idea might have been suggested by Stanley, an accordion aficionado himself. See the movie for an evocation by Bolia We Ndenge of this important moment in the history of world music; the accordion and force publique uniform are genuine vintage items. 

Konono N°1: the band everyone raves about, from electronica and avant-rock aficionados to world music fans... The sparks which are bound to fly when a Congotronics band plays through a large PA system in front of a totally fired-up European (American/Asian ?) audience are clearly perceptible in «Couleur Café », a piece recorded live at the eponymous festival in Brussels during Konono's summer 2005 tour. A recording of the whole performance is also available.


KASAI ALLSTARS - Beware the Fetish
Beware the Fetish
KONONO NO.1 - Assume Crash Position
Assume Crash Position
KONONO NO.1 - Congotronics 1
Congotronics 1
KASAI ALLSTARS - In The 7th Moon, The Chief Turned Into...
In The 7th Moon, The Chief Turned Into...