5August | Saturday
MAKANDA at the End of Space, the Beginning of Time
Popolipo (The Remixes)
Le Dernier Empereur Bantou
Even though he has a Juno nomination and Polaris Prize longlist kudos to his name, he hasn’t yet made as big of a splash across the border. With his latest track, “Sexus Plexus Nexus,” this should change. Erin Macloeod, Pitchfork
World-Pop musician Pierre Kwenders lays the mack down in "Sexus Plexus Nexus". AFROPUNK
La poésie du chanteur montréalais et sa musique qui nous attaquent à coups de percussion électronique, fait voyager. Le Journal de Montréal
Afro-Canadian singer/songwriter Pierre Kwenders’ music is a response to a world that so often asks people who fit comfortably in multiple boxes to pick only one. While Pierre’s music ranges from icy R&B to futuristic hip-hop, his style is rooted in Congolese rumba, the ubiquitous sound of The Democratic Republic of Congo. With his new full-lenght album, out on September 2017, Pierre looks to build on the success of his debut. Produced entirely by Seattle-based Fly Guy Dai (aka Tendai Maraire of Shabazz Palaces), this new album pivots from Bantou's housey thump to something more instrumental, incorporating strong African influence and old-school West Coast hip-hop vibes into Kwenders unique recipe.pierrekwenders.com
September 2017 will mark the return of Pierre Kwenders, a torchbearer of today’s new wave of African artists. Now, the Afro-Canadian singer-songwriter unveils his music video for Sexus Plexus Nexus, the second single off his sophomore album, MAKANDA at The End of Space, the Beginning of Time, due out on September 8th via Bonsound. The song premiered two weeks ago on CBC radio 2’s The Strombo Show.
Pierre Kwenders’ new album is available now for preorder on all digital platforms.
Directed by duo Epher Heilland, the video is a true celebration. The idea was to recreate the ambience and dances in Kinshasa, Pierre explains. The vibe of a street fair where you go with your family to celebrate until the wee hours. Listening to the song and partying, you never want it to end, all that celebration of love.
MAKANDA carries the heritage of a modern Africa in which Congolese Rumba is at the forefront. The album, recorded in Seattle, was produced by Tendai Baba Maraire, one-half of the Seattle-based hip hop duo Shabazz Palaces (Sub pop records). Pierre Kwenders’ musical depth is present throughout the 11 tracks, which interweave new wave world music, rumba trap and indie afro. He sings and raps in four languages (lingala, french, english, shona), allowing him aesthetic and lyrical options most artists do not have. These four languages are the album’s cornerstones.
Pierre Kwenders will hit the road again this summer for a tour through Quebec and the rest of Canada. The singer-songwriter just came back from a successful European tour with Mozart's Sister and POP Montreal, and made stops in Paris, London and Glasgow, among other cities.
Afro-Canadian singer/songwriter Pierre Kwenders’ music is a response to a world that so often asks people who fit comfortably in multiple boxes to pick only one. Born in Kinshasa, Kwenders draws on his wide-ranging experience to make personal music with multiple points of entry, rather than paring it down to fit recognizable genres. He also wields it like a studio trick; he sings and raps in five languages, allowing him aesthetic and lyrical options most artists do not have.
While Pierre’s music ranges from icy R&B to futuristic hip-hop, his style is rooted in Congolese rumba, the ubiquitous sound of The Democratic Republic of Congo. Like Kwenders, the genre’s identity transcends location: It began in the 1960’s as central African artists’ take on Afro-Cuban rumba, which in turn grew out of African sounds imported to Cuba through the slave trade in the 17th century. But Pierre is as influenced by the sound of Congolese rumba as he is by the attitude of artists like the late Papa Wemba, who pushed the genre forward by finding ways to incorporate new ideas. Kwenders takes a similar approach to R&B and hip-hop.
After a pair of well-received EP’s, Kwenders 2014 full-length Le Dernier Empereur Bantou established him as a torchbearer for a new wave of African artists. It was long- listed for the 2015 Polaris Prize, nominated for the 2015 Juno World Music Album of the year, and was nominated at the 2015 ADISQ for World Music Album of the Year. Its lead single, Mardi Gras earned the 2015 ADISQ for Video of the Year. He played most Canadian festivals and toured Europe in support of the album.
Aside from his records and touring, Pierre is a major progressive force in the Montreal music scene. He is one of the founders of the Moonshine Collective, a conglomeration of artists focused on increasing the diversity of the city's output. What began as a monthly after-hours dance party (coinciding with the full moon, hence the name) has grown to serve as label, management, and other behind-the-scenes functions for independent artists. He is also a frequent collaborator with Win Butler of the Arcade Fire: The two have shared the decks at multiple parties and Pierre supported Arcade Fire on their fifth annual fundraiser for the Haiti-focused charity Kanpe.
His new album, out on September via Bonsound, is produced entirely by Fly Guy Dai (aka Tendai Maraire of Shabazz Palaces). Not surprisingly, Kwenders shifts from Bantou’s housey thump to something notably more rap-centric. But this new album also finds Pierre doubling down on his heritage, and the influence of Congolese rumba is more prevalent than ever in his songwriting and instrumentation. Still, his music maintains his unique sound; check the guitars in " Woods of Solitude", the first single.
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