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Host: Oyunga Pala / Intro: Glodi Lugungu
After the Dutch premiere in May at the Africadelic Festival, we are screening the film The Rumba Kings together with Africadelic one more time on the big screen, an award-winning documentary about the history of Congolese rumba. The evening will be hosted by Kenyan writer, journalist and curator Oyunga Pala, and Congolese-born comedian Glodi Lugungu (Comedytrain) will be in the house for an introduction before the film!
The Rumba Kings is a joyous exploration of the liberating power of music. In the 1950s, when the Democratic Republic of the Congo was still under harsh Belgian rule, a generation of Congolese musicians decided to use popular music to fight colonial oppression. They fused traditional African rhythms with Afro-Cuban music to create the musical genre known as Congolese rumba, an infectious groove that provided a space of freedom and resistance against the cruelty and humiliation that the Congolese were facing in subjugation. After its birth, the electrifying Congolese rumba beat never stopped. Congolese rumba carried the country through its quest for independence, producing the most famous African independence anthem ever created, conquering the entire continent with its captivating guitar sounds, and forging the identity of an entire nation.
On one level, The Rumba Kings is the stunning story of how the Congolese rumba sound developed and later conquered Africa. On another level, the film is an emotional statement about how music can break barriers, heal wounds, and bring hope. Through original interviews, music recordings, archival footage, and never-before-seen live music performances, The Rumba Kings is the journey of the sound that shaped a nation and gave Africa its own musical stars such as Franco Luambo and the OK Jazz orchestra, Grand Kallé and Dr. Nico and the African Jazz orchestra, who were as popular across Africa as any famous western rock band. Sit back and meet The Rumba Kings. Because Congo’s real treasure does not lie underground.
Alan Brain, the director, started working on the film in 2012, while he was in the Democratic Republic of the Congo working for the United Nations peacekeeping mission as a filmmaker. 'My interest grew when I discovered that Congolese rumba music had served as a space of resistance and freedom against the colonial oppression that the Congolese faced when they were a Belgian colony, and that later it had become a true symbol of national identity. It became my life's mission to tell this amazing story in the most compelling way possible.'
Melkweg Cinema is thé Dutch film theater for music films. From unique concert films to much talked about music documentaries: the whole spectrum of music film can be seen here.