Afropop Classic October 17, 2019
The Congotronics Story
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Urban traditional bands from the ethnic neighborhoods of sprawling Kinshasa have emerged as a surprise world music hit around the world. Overlooked and marginalized in the complex world of Congolese pop music, groups like Konono No 1 and Kisanzi Congo are reaching the world thanks to the concerted efforts of Belgian musician and producer Vincent Kenis, the man behind the Congotronics phenomenon. This urban roots music goes back to the heady days of President Mobutu’s “authenticity” campaign in the 1970s, and to ancient, village culture before that. How that music became a hit with college age, club crawlers from London to Seattle is quite a story. And the music has a trance vibe that takes hold of you and doesn’t let go. We speak with Vincent Kenis, Mawangu Mingiedi of Konono No 1, and also a rising star in mainstream Congo pop—Felix Wazekwa. All that plus new music from the acoustic rumba revival group, Kékélé.


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