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Makeshift and Polished: Konono No. 1

Musicians and dancers in a performance by the Konono No. 1 band.
Musicians and dancers in a performance by the Konono No. 1 band.

Konono No.1 is a 12-piece group hailing from Kinshasa, Congo. The band's debut album, Congotronics, introduces the world to their unique sound.

That sound has been honed by years of performance, mostly in Kinshasa's outdoor cafes. And it has developed as the group has found ways to make music without being able to spend thousands on equipment.

Whether for percussion or for melodic instruments like thumb pianos, Konono No. 1 has long used salvaged car parts and other discarded machinery to create their musical tools. The results, heard on Congotronics and in the band's live shows, are full of idiosyncratic energy.

Copyright 2006 XPN

David Dye
David Dye is a longtime Philadelphia radio personality whose music enthusiasm has captivated listeners of World Cafe® since 1991. World Cafe is produced by WXPN, the public radio service of the University of Pennsylvania.