The stirring history of the Congolese rumba, a fusion of African rhythms and Afro-Cuban music that created an electrifying beat and inspired a nation to independence.
In the 1950s, the Democratic Republic of the Congo was under harsh Belgian rule. A generation of Léopoldville (now Kinshasa) and Brazzaville musicians decided to use popular music to fight colonial oppression. They created the Congolese rumba, an infectious groove that lifted their community’s spirits. Outstanding performers such as Franco Luambo and the OK Jazz Orchestra, Le Grand Kallé, and Dr. Nico and the African Jazz Orchestra created music that was rousing – and made for dancing. The evocative archive footage in Alan Brain’s compelling film showcases the amazingly gifted musicians, as well as the era’s cool style. In 1960, rumba musicians wowed Europe and influenced the establishment, and the ‘Indépendance Cha Cha’ became the soundtrack to Congo’s historic declaration of independence.
Sponsored by Mountain Goat