Quando Quango  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Quando Quango was a Manchester, England based new wave dance project formed by The Haçienda DJ and Factory Records A&R man Mike Pickering, Hillegonda Rietveld and Reinier Rietveld. Their unique sound influenced the underground dance music scenes in New York and Chicago in the 1980s. [1] Their first release was the "Go Exciting" twelve-inch single on Factory Records in 1982, and their last release of new music was the 1985 full-length album Pigs & Battleships (reissued in 2003).


Quando Quango is best known for its dance singles "Love Tempo," which reached number four on the Billboard Dance Chart, and "Atom Rock." Their sound was the result of an eclectic mix of Latin, jazz, reggae and disco, all in a pioneering New Wave context. Hillegonda Rietveld said, describing the group's music, "...Fela Kuti meets Kraftwerk somewhere between Manchester and Rotterdam, part of a new wave of post-punk electronica, with a whole lot of Mike Pickering's admirably broad knowledge of soul, disco, reggae and pop to stuff the gaps." [2] [3] Bernard Sumner of Joy Division and New Order, who produced early Quando Quango recordings, was a major influence on the group.


The group was formed in Rotterdam, The Netherlands in 1980 by Mancunian Mike Pickering and Rotterdam-based Gonnie Rietveld, supported on drums by her brother Reinier Rietveld. In 1982 they moved to Manchester, England, where Pickering's friend Rob Gretton was setting up The Haçienda nightclub. [4]

In 1983 Reinier Rietveld left the group to concentrate on his Rotterdam band Spasmodique. Soon after, former A Certain Ratio drummer Simon Topping joined as percussionist. Hillegonda Rietveld settled into her role programming their electronic music and Pickering continued to write lyrics and melodies.

The same year, Derek Johnson of fellow Factory act 52nd Street joined on bass, soon to be replaced by his brother Barry Johnson, formerly of Sweet Sensation, and later of Aswad.

After releasing a few singles that were minor dance club hits, the group collaborated with Manchester music legends Johnny Marr and Vini Reilly to create full-length album Pigs & Battleships. Andy Connell of A Certain Ratio and Beverley McDonald of 52nd Street also contributed.

The group didn't last long after the album's release, but before their collapse they recorded more material with prominent guests. Lisa Stansfield sang on demos of "Bad Blood" and "Vision of America" in 1986. Stephen Morris of Joy Division and New Order contributed percussion to "What Price Beauty," which later became M People track "Kiss It Better."

After the group's demise, Pickering went on to form dance duo T-Coy with Topping and, later, M People. Rietveld's connection with the Haçienda continued when she researched and co-edited the book The Haçienda Must Be Built!, which was edited by Jon Savage. After gaining her doctorate, Dr Rietveld single-authored This Is Our House: House Music, Cultural Spaces and Technologies, and is currently Reader in Cultural Studies at London South Bank University, where she supervises postgraduate research projects in electronic dance music cultures.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Quando Quango" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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