The band's line-up includes three electric likembes (bass, medium and treble), equipped with hand-made microphones built from magnets salvaged from old car parts, and plugged into amplifiers.
The band, below, was founded back in the 1960s by Mingiedi, a virtuoso of the likembe (a traditional instrument sometimes called sanza or thumb piano, consisting of metal rods attached to a resonator).
Mingiedi Mawangu founded the group in the 1960s, adapting the ritual music of his Bazombo ethnic group to be performed by musicians using electric likembes
(box-resonated lamellophones) with pickups made from junkyard scraps, and percussion ranging from the traditional to the makeshift (pans, pots, and car parts), all amplified through a distortion-prone sound system.
Drawing on traditional Bazombo trance music, it centers on the sounds of multiple likembes
(thumb pianos) distorted by a jerryrigged amplification system and combined with percussive instruments and lyrics chanted through megaphones.
But by 2000 the group had reformed as Le Tout Puissant Likembe Konono N[degrees]1 with three electric likembes, a drumkit made of hub caps, and a PA system made of two 'lance-voix'--megaphones dating back to the days when the Belgian colonists broadcast radio in the streets.
Konono N[degrees]1 was founded over 25 years ago by Mingiedi, a virtuoso of the likembe (the traditional instrument sometimes called 'sanza' consisting of metal rods attached to a resonator).
Any musicologist will tell you that the likembe is just one of a family of instruments found throughout Sub-Saharan Africa (and the diaspora) north of the Limpopo.