When you love greatness… you come across greatness. A couple of years ago, I watched the Oscars, and one of the nominees for international movies was the South African operatic version of Carmen of Bizet. This made me wonder if there was another orchestra on the continent playing the arts of Mozart, Vivaldi, and Beethoven, to name just a few… and what would that be in an African language. Few days ago, I came across an article on the BBC talking about the Kinshasa Symphony Orchestra. I was so proud to see that this orchestra was entirely founded by Congolese themselves. The ‘Chef d’orchestre’ was a Congolese gentleman who had started the orchestra in 1993 (Armand Diangienda)… and kept it throughout the years. He merged two great musical traditions using Western musical instruments to create Congolese classical music. With time, the orchestra grew: in its early days, it started with 5 cellos for 12 people; now the orchestra counts over 100 members! They even compose their own music in Lingala! Isn’t it amazing? Orchestra members come from all works of life: from cooks, teachers, ‘vendeurs a la sauvette’ (bayam-selam), tailors, to journalists, professors, etc… They are from all ages: mothers, parents, singles… etc… So great was my surprise that I had to write this article and leave you with this great video… Enjoy: Symphony orchestra made in Congo, by Congolese people, for all! Delightful !!!
Please also check the official website for the documentary: Kinshasa Symphony