Pierre Kwenders

José Louis and the Paradox of Love Deluxe (Arts & Crafts)

Contact Sam McAllister about Pierre Kwenders

José Louis And The Paradox of Love, the acclaimed 2022 record released by Congolese/Canadian artist and icon Pierre Kwenders, “is an endlessly listenable album that combines pop, R&B and electronic music with melodic vocals delivered in a mixture of Lingala, French, English, Tshiluba and Kikongo.” (The New York Times). Today, Kwenders presents “Niata,” a new single from the forthcoming deluxe edition of José Louis And The Paradox Of Love, out June 30th on Arts & Crafts. Following the infectious single “SMT” (aka Social Media Therapy), “Niata” reminds of the boundless sonic spectrum that colors Kwenders’ 2022 Polaris Music Prize winning album for Best Canadian Album.


Produced by Portuguese musician/DJ Branko, “Niata” captures the newfangled dancefloor rhythmics and multilingual storytelling of Kwenders’ heartfelt, celebratory music. Singing in a signature blend of Lingala, French, and English, over a minimal melodic beat, the charismatic Kwenders delves further into his journey of love and personal discovery. “‘Niata’ is a song that calls to be cautious and careful,” says Kwenders. “Reminding us that curiosity killed the cat, everything requires moderation, and that, in love, no one wants to walk on eggshells.”


Born in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kwenders borrows his stage name from his late grandfather, a widely respected businessman and community figure. Following his mother’s footsteps, in 2001 Kwenders immigrated from Congo to Montreal. José Louis and the Paradox of Love is a culmination of personal growth and the musical dexterity Kwenders has honed over the years, converging his strong songwriting capabilities with the bravado he possesses as a DJ. The album explores an ongoing search to grasp the universal complexities of romance, sometimes through the lens of Kwenders’ own intimate experiences. The songs were written and recorded over the span of four years, and the album is symbolically titled after his birth name, José Louis Modabi. Through different moments of tension and release, romantic narratives of beauty and disaster are packed into powerful poetic musical vignettes.