AFROPOLITAN, CRT Milano – Teatro dell’Arte 5 > 7 dicembre

Pierre Kwenders “Le Dernier Empereur Bantou”

While you could argue that Pierre Kwenders isn’t doing anything revolutionary, debut album Le Dernier Empereur Bantou orbits a pleasing postmodern aesthetic. The Congo-born, Montreal-based musician steeps the electronic vibes of his current Canadian surroundings in Congolese rumba rhythms to achieve a vivacious musical style. With the humble self-designation of “spokesman of modern Africa,” Kwenders defines his progressive sound as “Congolese rumba and Afro-electro beats.” Indeed, the multilingual Kwenders layers this sound with the “last emperor” motif alluded to in the album title — a postmodern, post-colonial stratus that pulsates with tracks like the anthemic “African Dream” (Look Mama/ I made it/ I’m living it/ I’m singing it/ Colours of the rainbow/ I swallowed it.” Tracks “Popolipo” and “Ali Boma Ye” (both featuring Samito) traverse similar musical colours and are clear bright spots. “Mami Wata” slows things down with a haunting Weeknd-esque tempo awkwardly authenticated by guest stars the Posterz dropping copious N-bombs throughout. But numbers like “Cadavere” and “Sorry” fully commit to the musical slant, electronic bleeps and bloops intertwined with African chants and sensibilities. Overall, Kwenders’ debut full-length is ambitious in scope and hits most of, if not all the right notes.

By Ryan B. Patrick


12/12 Karima – Arezzo

7/12 Vaudou Game – Afropolitan@Triennale MI

6/12 Baloji – Afropolitan@Triennale MI

6/12 Pierre Kwenders@Rialto

5/12 Pierre Kwenders – Afropolitan@Triennale MI

22/11 Classica Orchestra Afrobeat feat. Bambino Diabate e Baba Sissoko – Chiesa S. Cristina (BO)

21/11 Classica Orchestra Afrobeat feat. Bambino Diabate e Baba Sissoko – Auditorium (RM)

14/11 Volta 45 – Rialto (RM)

11/11 Fatoumata Diawara – Festival Musica dei Popoli (FI)

1/11 Baloji – Festival Musica dei Popoli (FI)

1/11 OY – “Afropolitan” REF14@PELANDA

31/10 LV vs. Fawda Trio - “Afropolitan” REF14@PELANDA

30/10 Baloji – “Afropolitan” REF14@PELANDA

18/10 Debruit – Rialto (RM)

10/10 Khalab/Sissoko – Internet Festival (PI)

3/10 Bafoulabe feat. Badara Seck – Festival Musica dei Popoli (FI)

27/9 Afrodisia Opening Party: Dj Sawa The Azonto King – Rialto (RM)

13/9 Melt Yourself Down – Liverock Fest (SI)