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Congolese-Canadian musician Pierre Kwenders is in his own space and time

Pierre Kwenders is a Congolese-Canadian musician from Montreal.

Neil Mota

His new album is MAKANDA at The End of Space, the Beginning of Time, and one could say that Pierre Kwenders is somewhere between those two points. The style of the Congolese-Canadian Montrealer is a trippy mash of circling African motifs, old-school hip hop, sophisticated R&B and slyly thumping house music. Next-level Afrocentric stuff, then, with a whiff of yacht rock so subtle it would barely dent the sail on the boat of Steely Dan.

Signed to Montreal's Bonsound label, Kwenders last released an album in 2014. Le dernier empereur bantou was nominated for a Juno and was on the long list of Polaris Music Prize contenders in 2015. His credentials including a working relationship with Win Butler of Arcade Fire. They've shared decks at some of the more hip Montreal parties; he was hand-picked by Arcade Fire to open for them in Montreal this past spring.

The new album is set to drop Sept. 8, with Quebec and Ontario dates to follow. At the end of space and the beginning of time, Kwenders has carved out a distinctive new niche.

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Pierre Kwenders plays Toronto's Rivoli (Sept. 15) and the Guelph Jazz Festival (Sept. 16)

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About the Author

Brad Wheeler is an arts reporter with The Globe and Mail. More


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