Tuesday, August 17, 2010

'Kinshasa Symphony' is Film on 'L'Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste' in D.R. Congo

[Top to Bottom: Street Scene; Bread Sellers; Conductor of Symphony]

On Feb. 23, 2010 AfriClassical posted: “Agence France Presse: 'DR. Congo orchestra brings Mozart to heart of Africa.'” The post featured the Kimbanguist Symphony Orchestra (OSK), which it says Armand Diangienda helped to found. Today Rashida Black has informed us of a vividly illustrated article on the orchestra and the film, “Kinshasa Symphony”:

“Kinshasa Symphony: Central Africa's one and only symphony orchestra: L'Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste.”
“'Kinshasa Symphony' shows how people living in one of the most chaotic cities in the world have managed to forge one of the most complex systems of human cooperation ever invented: a symphony orchestra. It is a film about the Congo, about the people of Kinshasa and about music.

“'Kinshasa Symphony' – a three-way perspective

“The City: Kinshasa
One of the youngest, biggest, most chaotic cities in the world. One of the fastest growing megacities, a veritable Moloch. Poet Thierry Mayamba Nlandu describes the city as 'beyond chaos.' He should know. He is a genuine 'Kinois,' an inhabitant of Kinshasa.

“The People: Various 'Kinois'
Among the people guiding us through the city are bread salesgirl Chantal Ikina, electrician and hairdresser Joseph, artisan Albert Matubenza and preacher Armand Diangienda. What they all have in common is their love of music. Chantal and Joseph are violinists, Albert can play all string instruments as well as the guitar and Armand is the conductor.

“The Music: 'L’Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste'
The tortuous paths of these 'Kinois' through the different worlds of the city converge at the rehearsal venue of the only symphony orchestra not only in Kinshasa or the Congo, but in all sub-Saharan Africa.

“Chantal, Joseph, Albert, Armand and the orchestra have allowed us to accompany them with the camera wherever they go. The time we allow ourselves to get to know one another, the intensity of these encounters and the love of classical music we all share enable us to paint a fascinating picture of the lives of people in the present-day Congo. It is a film about a city in Africa, its citizens – and the music they perform: Handel, Verdi, Beethoven.

“'Kinshasa Symphony' shows Kinshasa in all its diversity, speed, colour, vitality and energy. The sound of this city and its orchestra is conveyed by a sonic design that blends the music with the atmosphere of Kinshasa. For many years this was not only a very difficult undertaking, it was officially prohibited. Dictator Mobutu did all he could to prevent the world from witnessing the decay of his country. This is why the only pictures we have of the Congo, to the extent that they exist at all, come from news reports. 'Kinshasa Symphony' paints a very different picture of the Congo.

“The orchestra’s collective music-making, the rehearsals and the concerts they lead up to show our protagonists in the company of over two hundred other 'Kinois.' The results are magnificent and inspiring images of the courage and determination with which Congolese civic society sets out to free itself from a vicious circle of colonial oppression, tyranny, poverty and war that has had them in its grip for decades.”


Dani said...

Wow, what a great organization! I definitely want to see the film. Thanks for sharing this - it's so important to the musicological community!




Unknown said...

>The tortuous paths of these 'Kinois' through the different worlds of the city converge at the rehearsal venue of the only symphony orchestra not only in Kinshasa or the Congo, but in all sub-Saharan Africa.<

Cool story, but the blurb overstates the case.

Besides the professional, university and school, and amateur orchestras in South Africa, there's a burgeoning classical music scene in Kenya, and of course there's the famous National Symphony Orchestra of Ghana founded with support from President Nkhruma's administration 51 years ago, and Egypt's Cairo Symphony. I'd be very surprised if these were the only ones, nevermind the many dance and popular music orchestras, and native African classical music orchestras in Africa.

It's great the film-maker is doing this, but I wish he'd done a simple google search before spreading yet more disinformation about African countries.