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Pierre Kwenders
Daniele Fummo
Daniele Fummo

Singing and rapping in Lingala, French, English, Tshiluba, and Kikongo, Pierre Kwenders similarly weaves his stories across the boundaries of language and geography. José Louis and the Paradox of Love is a culmination of personal growth and the musical dexterity he has honed over the years, converging his strong songwriting capabilities with the bravado he possesses as a DJ. The album, which was awarded the prestigious Polaris Music Prize, explores an ongoing search to grasp the universal complexities of romance, sometimes through the lens of Kwenders’ own intimate experiences.

Full Bio
Awards & Recognition
  • Winner of the 2022 Polaris Music Prize for José Louis And the Paradox of Love
  • Winner in the category World EP/Album of the Year for Classe Tendresse (in collaboration with Clément Bazin), GAMIQ (2021)
  • Nominated in the category International Collaboration of the Year with Clément Bazin for the EP Classe tendresse, ADISQ. (2021)
  • Nominated in the category Lighting Design and Projections of the Year (June Barry) for Pierre Kwenders @ Festival de Jazz, ADISQ. (2021)
  • Nominated in the category Set Design & Stage Direction of the Year (Pierre Kwenders) for Pierre Kwenders @ Festival de Jazz, ADISQ. (2021)
  • Nominated in the category Online Performance of the Year - English/other languages/Indigenous languages for Pierre Kwenders @ Festival de Jazz, ADISQ. (2021)
  • Félix Award for World Music Album of the Year at the 2018 ADISQ Gala for MAKANDA at the End of Space, the Beginning of Time
  • Winner of the Electro Album of the Year Award for Le Dernier Empereur Bantou at the 2015 GAMIQ
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Press Quotes

Pierre Kwenders’ second album, produced by Shabazz Palaces’ Tendai Maraire, is a wildly inventive, globe-spanning triumph.

Jonathan Zwickel, Pitchfork

[…] la magie de Pierre Kwenders […] tient à cette façon de multiplier les registres sans se disperser, sans brouiller les pistes. Pierre Kwenders a toujours fait de la pop, en fait. Mais une pop quasi expérimentale à force de tester l’improbable, le jamais fait avant.

Les Inrocks

À la fois subtil et percutant, ce métissage pourrait positionner Pierre Kwenders parmi les artistes les plus intéressants de la diaspora africaine en Occident.

Alain Brunet, La Presse

The style of the Congolese-Canadian Montrealer is a trippy mash of circling African motifs, old-school hip hop, sophisticated R&B and slyly thumping house music. […] At the end of space and the beginning of time, Kwenders has carved out a distinctive new niche.

The Globe and Mail

Il est canadien mais invente l’Afrique électronique, peut rapper en cinq langues et s’imposer en première partie d’Arcade Fire. [...] Dites bonjour à Pierre Kwenders, votre nouvelle obsession.


[Pierre Kwenders] demonstrated an awareness of the value of stage pageantry, and hinted at a wellspring of power from his excellent sophomore album MAKANDA at the End of Space, the Beginning of Time: his sincere belief that connection, between seemingly disparate musics and people, is possible.

ManagementHervé Kalongo