watch Pierre Kwenders’ video for his Shabazz Palaces collab, see him at SXSW
Quebec-via-Congo musician Pierre Kwenders, who won us over at M For Montreal last year, completely defies genre or easy categorization. He sings in four different languages (English, French, Lingala, and Tshiluba), and he takes influence from hip hop, African pop, Congolese rumba, and more. "My main objective [...] is to create a Pan-African sound," he tells The FADER. "Something that Africans can easily listen to even though it's not traditionally African, and also something that Western people can listen to and be like 'Wow, it sounds like African stuff but in the meantime it's so contemporary.'"
His latest release is his great 2017 LP MAKANDA at the End of Space, the Beginning of Time, which was produced entirely by Tendai Maraire of Shabazz Palaces. The sorta-title track "Makanda" (which means "strength" in Tshiluba) also features Shabazz Palaces' Ishmael Butler aka Palaceer Lazaro, along with SassyBlack, and that song recently got a video. This is what Pierre told Afropunk when he explained the concept behind the clip: "I was raised by my Mother with the help of my Aunts and Grandmother. My life without that strong feminine energy would have very little meaning. This film is simply the story of a young woman working hard, training harder and fighting. I wanted to make a video about the strength of a woman. That is what Makanda is." You can watch that video and stream the full album below.
Pierre is in Austin for SXSW this week, including the Friday of BrooklynVegan and Margin Walker's Lost Weekend 2 day parties at Cheer Up Charlies. He plays the indoor stage at 5:15 PM. Admission is FREE WITH RSVP.
Pierre also plays Toronto's Field Trip festival in June. All known dates are listed below.
Pierre Kwenders -- 2018 Tour Dates
3/15 Flamingo Cantina Austin, TX
3/16 Cheer Up Charlies (BrooklynVegan & Margin Walker) Austin, TX
3/16 Swan Dive Austin, TX (Pop Montreal SXSW showcase)
6/2 Field Trip Toronto, ON