Mobutu Sese Seko, who ruled Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) from 1965 until 1997, was fond of saying “happy are those who sing and dance,” and his regime energetically promoted the notion of culture as a national resource. During this period Zairian popular dance music (often referred to as la rumba zaïroise) became a sort of musica franca in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa. But how did this privileged form of cultural expression, one primarily known for a sound of sweetness and joy, flourish under one of the continent’s most brutal authoritarian regimes? In Rumba Rules, the first ethnography of popular music in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bob W. White examines not only the economic and political conditions that brought this powerful music industry to its knees, but also the ways that popular musicians sought to remain socially relevant in a time of increasing insecurity.
Music Saved Them, They Say: Social Impacts of Music-Making and Learning in Kinshasa (DR Congo) explores the role music-making has played in community projects run for young people in the poverty-stricken and often violent surroundings of Kinshasa, the capital city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The musicians described here – former gang members and so-called "witch children" living on the streets – believe music was vital in (re)constructing their lives. Based on fieldwork carried out over the course of three-and-a-half years of research, the study synthesizes interviews, focus group sessions, and participant observation to contextualize this complicated cultural and social environment. Inspired by those who have been "saved by music", Music Saved Them, They Say seeks to understand how structured musical practice and education can influence the lives of young people in such difficult living conditions, in Kinshasa and beyond.
Rumba on the River presents a snapshot of an era when the currents of tradition and modernization collided along the banks of the Congo. There had always been music along the banks of the Congo River—lutes and drums, the myriad instruments handed down from ancestors. But when Joseph Kabasele and his African Jazz went chop for chop with O.K. Jazz and Bantous de la Capitale, music in Africa would never be the same. Born in Kinshasa and Brazzaville at the end of World War II, Congon music matured as Africans fought to consolidate their hard-won independence. In addition to great musicians—Franco, Essous, Abeti, Tabu Ley, and youth bands like Zaiko Langa Langa—the cast of characters includes the conniving King Leopold II, the martyred Patrice Lumumba, corrupt dictator Mobutu, military strongman Sassou Nguesso, heavyweight boxing champs George Foreman and Muhammad Ali, along with a Belgian baron and a clutch of enterprising Greek expatriates who pioneered the Congolese recording industry.
Based on fieldwork in Kinshasa and Paris, Breaking Rocks examines patronage payments within Congolese popular music, where a love song dedication can cost 6,000 dollars and a simple name check can trade for 500 or 600 dollars. Tracing this system of prestige through networks of musicians and patrons – who include gangsters based in Europe, kleptocratic politicians in Congo, and lawless diamond dealers in northern Angola – this book offers insights into ideologies of power and value in central Africa’s troubled post-colonial political economy, as well as a glimpse into the economic flows that make up the hidden side of the globalization.
Papa Wemba : la voix de la musique congolaise moderne : contribution et odyssée
Résolument avant-gardiste en même temps qu'il est attaché à la tradition musicale de son pays, Papa Wemba enrichit la musique congolaise moderne par des emprunts aux musiques des terroirs et par l'introduction d'instruments traditionnels tels le lokolé. Créant la rumba-rock, une fusion de rumba et de pop-rock, il sort la musique congolaise des sentiers battus et devient le porte-étendard de la culture congolaise sur la scène internationale.
Papa Wemba : Icône de la musique africaine, de génération en génération.
L'auteur nous entraîne dans deux univers parallèles de "l'homme" et de "l'artiste" Papa Wemba. Dans sa marge de liberté créatrice, qui est aussi celle de l'imaginaire, l'artiste déploie toute son inventivité et son capital de générosité à l'égard de ses fans et ses collègues musiciens. Papa Wemba se révèle être la mémoire de nos sentimentalités les plus tendres, les plus conviviales et les plus souriantes; il est le poète de nos espoirs et de nos espérances. Papa Wemba était de la race des optimistes les plus contagieux, à l'âme perpétuellement adolescente.
In the forested depths of eastern Congo lies Virunga National Park, one of the most bio-diverse places on Earth and home to the planet’s last remaining mountain gorillas. In this wild, but enchanted environment, a small and embattled team of park rangers - including an ex-child soldier turned ranger, a caretaker of orphan gorillas and a dedicated conservationist - protect this UNESCO world heritage site from armed militia, poachers and the dark forces struggling to control Congo's rich natural resources. When the newly formed M23 rebel group declares war, a new conflict threatens the lives and stability of everyone and everything they've worked so hard to protect, with the filmmakers and the film’s participants caught in the crossfire. A powerful combination of investigative journalism and nature documentary, Virunga is the incredible true story of a group of courageous people risking their lives to build a better future in a part of Africa the world’s forgotten, and a gripping exposé of the realities of life in the Congo.
The story of the first private individual to found a space company. The German engineer Lutz Kayser starts OTRAG in the early 1970s and works on producing an inexpensive rocket. Soon, Mobutu Sesse Seko, President of then Zaire, allows him to use the Congo as its base.
A musical documentary depicting the against-all-odds rise of Staff Benda Bilili, a dynamic band of street musicians from the Democratic Republic of Congo who became beloved stars of the world music circuit. Charting the group's progress across several years, Benda Bilili! tells a real-life Cinderella story spanning humble beginnings in Kinshasa and a triumphant European tour.
A film crew follow a group of children that live rough on Kinshasa's streets. The children are thought of as shegues, or witches, by many adults including their families. The kids' desire is to make money and music.
Blood in the Mobile is the story of how our phones are connected to illegal mining in Congo (DRC). The film focuses on the mineral cassiterite—a mineral used for producing tin, which is used for the production of all kinds of electronic devices, including mobile phones. Director Frank Piasecki Poulsen visits a mine in Bisie. Bisie is one of the largest and most notorious illegal mines in the region. Mineshafts frequently collapse and miners are buried alive. Child labor, prostitution of under-age girls, and lack of rights and protection of miners are some of the conditions surrounding the cassiterite mining operations. The money from the minerals is financing the war in the region.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo has seen more than five million conflict-related deaths, multiple regime changes and the wholesale impoverishment of its people in the past two decades. This is Congo immerses the viewer onto the frontlines of battle with key players including a whistleblower and military commanders to provide a truly unfiltered and unique look into the conflict plaguing Congo.
Mika, 14, is kicked out of his home and finds himself in the streets of Kinshasa. As the story unfolds, choices are offered. You decide what to do with the film. The virtual reality film Kinshasa Now is an experience where the spectator is immersed, thanks to a 360 ° VR headset, in the middle of the streets of Kinshasa while discovering the daily life of a street child.
Most companies and consumers are far from the source of minerals used in products like jewelry, cars, medical devices, electronics—and far from artisanal miners in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo. “Journey of Gold” brings the viewer underground in a gold mine, and face-to-face with miners, to shine a light on how responsible sourcing supports communities. The film speaks to companies in the gold supply chain, including suppliers for brands from the jewelry, electronics, and other sectors, on the importance of responsible sourcing and the value of engaging with the artisanal sector and communities. The accompanying action kit (www.journeyofgold.org) shares ideas for companies and consumers on how to get involved.
A documentary about Kinshasa’s vibrant street art scene and a group of people who are passionately taking their political messages to the streets – with the aid of bullet cases, smoke, blood, wax, plastic waste, music and their bodies.