The founder of the long-running Congolese outfit Konono Nº1 has died aged 85.

Mingiedi Mawangu helped develop the unique sound of “Congotronics” with his electrified likembé, a DIY adaptation of the traditional mbira-like instrument.

After forming sometime in the 1960s, Konono Nº1 were operational for several decades before finding fame outside their homeland. In 2003 the band played outside Africa for the first time, and in 2005 they released Congotronics on Crammed Discs, bringing their unique sound to the rest of the world to much acclaim. Konono Nº1’s album Live At Couleur Café was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2008.

The group have also collaborated with several international artists, including Björk, who brought them on tour in 2007, and Herbie Hancock.

An announcement on Konono No.1’s Facebook page stated: “He will be dearly missed by his son Augustin and the rest of the band. The funeral will take place next week.” [via TMT]

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