NPR reports that Augustin Mawangu Mingiedi, leader of the Congolese band Konono No. 1 died on Monday because of complications from diabetes. Mingiedi was 56.
Augustin’s father Mingiedi Mawangu founded Konono No. 1 sometime in the mid-’60s in Congo. The group made their own unique, otherworldly sounds by playing electrified, homemade thumb pianos known as likembes. The group worked in obscurity for decades before the Belgian producer Vincent Kenis recorded their 2004 album Congotronics. After finding critical success with that album, Konono No. 1 went on to collaborate with artists like Björk and Herbie Hancock.
Mawangu Mingiedi died in 2015 at the age of 85, and Augustin took over then as leader of the group. Now, after his passing, Augustin’s son Makonda will take over as bandleader. In a statement, the band wrote, “We are devastated. But Konono No. 1 are indestructible, and we’ve been continuing to work and perform.”