Photo: Danielle Fummo
biography

Congolese-born, Montreal-based musician, songwriter, and DJ Pierre Kwenders (he/him) is a storyteller at his core. Motivated by the intricacies of love, his songs weave together narratives from memories of the past, sketches of his hometown, and reflections on the future. With his third album, José Louis and The Paradox of Love (via Arts & Crafts), Kwenders arrives at a new juncture – a moment of resonance, carefully wrapped in freewheeling tapestry, hinged in reverence to its diverse heritage, yet revelling in the inventive combination of its elements.

In addition to be a leading force of Moonshine, Kwenders has a handful of critically-acclaimed releases under his belt. In the fall of 2020, he released Classe Tendresse, a collaborative EP created with French producer Clément Bazin that explores themes of longing and homesickness towards one’s homeland. The project won Kwenders a nomination for the 2021 GAMIQ World EP/Album of the Year award, and follows the release of MAKANDA at The End of Space, the Beginning of Time, Kwenders’s 2017 sophomore album, and Le Dernier Empereur Bantou, his debut album unveiled in 2014 – both earning him nominations for the Polaris Music Prize. In 2019, Kwenders joined forces with Ngabonziza Kiroko to form the future soul duo ABAKOS. Their debut album Solar Soldier was released in 2019, which featured production from prolific British electronic musician Jamie Lidell. He also engages in collaborative musical projects, including Baluka, an EP released in August 2021 with Uproot Andy, a Brooklyn-based producer and Que Bajo party co-founder. Expanding on his success as a musical artist, he co-directed a series of short documentaries titled “Zaïre Space Program”, which captures life in his hometown of Kinshasa.

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