The Slovenia Times

Afro-Trance Grooves Fill Cankarjev dom



Ljubljana can boast rich offerings from this genre. The concert by Kronono Nø1 from the Congo, who performed in front of a full hall in Cankarjev dom on April 10th, was a great way to begin a summer program of music from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The concert was part of Cankarjev dom's program Glasbe sveta (World music) and was followed only a week later by a performance by diva Cesaria Evora. The program will continue with the Chinese Generation Quartet, Bossa de novo and M"nica Salmaso in early May. The world music highlight of the summer will take place at the end of May with the festival of world music Druga godba which will feature names such as: Samba Sunda (Indonesia), Seun Anikolapo Kuti and Egipt 80 (Nigeria), Desert Blues (Mali), Susana Baka (Peru), and others. It has been a long time since an African music group took the music world by storm. The shock waves created by Kronono Nø1 were felt by music agents, musicians, and finally audiences around the world. Fans have been incredibly enthusiastic about the group's traditional African music, the sound and performance of which can rival any contemporary music. What's more, the music of electrified likembes (a 'thumb piano' made out of a gourd), accompanied by percussions and dance, has become the latest vogue. After Western African voices became well-known worldwide and after the Congo rumba, in the form of the sukus, beguiled the global dance arena, congotronics has now become all the rage. Kronono Nø1 was founded over 25 years ago by Mingiedi, a virtuoso of the likemb'. The band's line-up includes three electric likemb's (bass, medium and treble), equipped with hand-made microphones built from magnets salvaged from old car parts, which are plugged into amplifiers. The likemb' are supported by a rhythm section that consists of traditional as well as makeshift percussion (pans, pots and car parts), and a sound system featuring the notorious megaphones. The musicians come from the border area between the Congo and Angola, and later relocated to Kinshasa. Their repertoire draws largely on Bazombo trance music, but they've had to incorporate what were originally the unwanted distortions of their sound system. This has made them develop a unique style that has accidentally connected them with the most experimental forms of rock and electronic music, as much through their sounds as through their volume. Emerging from the suburbs of Kinshasa Kronono Nø1 is the latest musical phenomenon to emerge from the heart of Africa. The result is a close encounter with trance rhythms that a written review simply cannot do justice to. Their music is an intriguing blend of tradition and innovation. The basic groove that forms the firm basis for their twenty minute long pieces remains similar throughout their entire repertoire, thereby creating a trance-like feeling that lasts the duration of their performance. The true quality of Kronono Nø1 however comes from the three electrified likembes that contribute the melody. Their tunes often overcome the typical genre of African music and play with jazzy or even rock melodies. Supported with distortion, the melodies form the true soundscope of Bazombo trance music, which they represent. Despite the success of the performance, there was something missing in Cankarjev dom's Linhart Hall. This kind of music is just not suited to an audience that is comfortably seated. It should be experienced through body and dance. This is an African lecture to the Western world of music.


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