21 March 2011 -
Cockburn: - Konono N°1 is a band from Kinshasa, Congo. They’ve been around for quite a while, but I became aware of them a couple of years ago. Their sound is based around the likembe, a thumb harp similar to the South African mbira. To this they add vocals, percussion, sometimes electric bass and guitar. My favourite Konono N°1 CD is the one I first encountered, Congotronix, but there’s a recent one called Assume Crash Position.
This is street music par excellence, brimming with brash energy and full of exciting sounds, the music of a true jam band. They play with a kind of joyous rage. The likembes they use are electrified and amplified to the point of a deliciously over-the-top distortion, especially on Congotronix. That sound is less of an element on Assume Crash Position, but the grooves on both are loose and hypnotic and crazy deep as the Olduvai Gorge!
~ from Bruce Cockburn May Change Your Mind: Konono N°1 on Magnet