MAKANDA at the End of Space, the Beginning of Time Pierre Kwenders
- 1Bittersweet Mornings (feat. Fly Guy Dai)03:46
- 2Woods of Solitude03:41
- 3La La Love (feat. Kae Sun & Tanyaradzwa)04:05
- 4Makanda (feat. Palaceer Lazaro & SassyBlack)04:40
- 6Sexus Plexus Nexus04:52
- 8Zonga (feat. Tanyaradzwa)04:08
- 9Tuba Tuba03:40
Info for MAKANDA at the End of Space, the Beginning of Time
Pierre Kwenders’ new album, Makanda at the End of Space, the Beginning of Time, is steeped in love.
The totemic belonging of family, identity, and shared history of bodies that carry the same beats and rhythms. The unhinged joy of intimacy, and the sensation of truly being seen by someone whose witness you’ve longed for. The warm safety you’ve finally nurtured inside yourself, a radical act of solitude and recognition and acceptance. The kind of love that makes you free, that gives you courage.
“‘Makanda’ means 'strength,' and I dedicate the album to my mom, grandma and aunt, three women who have been very important in my life and made me who I am,” Kwenders says, over the phone from his home base in Montreal.
It’s a continued homage, since Pierre Kwenders itself isn’t just a stage name, but the name of his grandfather as well. On Makanda at the End of Space, the Beginning of Time, Kwenders isn’t just a time traveler, slipping backwards and forwards or zigzagging through countries and continents. His music captures life in a circle, a belief that there is no beginning or end, no race to some imagined victory, but that everything is connected.
Congolese rhumba mixing with electronic synths alongside sax solos and brass flourishes, and all 11 songs on the record sung or rapped in either Lingala, French, English or Shona. Every track contains its own atmosphere, even though they share related landscapes, be it the spacey, Afro-futurist title track, or the lush “La La Love” and the equally shimmering "Zonga." Two standout songs close out the record. “Tsvarakadenga” is unnervingly brilliant, a soaring track that feels like shouting into a canyon and the wind catches your voice and tosses it back at you. “WTFU” is a foot-stomping, political dance party that’s rife with attitude and action. Recorded in Seattle with Shabazz Palace’s Tendai Baba Maraire, Kwenders has crafted something utterly unique with Makanda because it’s so deeply rooted in his circle.
Pierre Kwenders, vocals
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.