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Rumba Rules O​.​S​.​T.

by Secousse

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Introducing « Rumba Rules, New genealogies », the documentary film soundtrack.

VIDEO TEASER: youtu.be/4SK540xbSeU

Born in the interstices of the colonial world and thriving during the three decades of the Mobutu era in Zaïre, Congolese rumba has been iconic and popular all over Africa for decades. The roots of Rumba are even deeper, and the many paths it evokes trigger the imagination. The story goes that this music came with the migration of the ‘Kumba’ drum and dance in previous centuries, African slaves having carried it all around the Americas and giving birth to Cuban ’Rumba’, Colombian ‘Kumbia’ and many others. With its varied rhythms, guitars and horns, through LPs and radio stations, Rumba came back to (re)conquer Africa throughout the 20th century, paving the way for new practices. One could say this music is a sort of palimpsest, a memory in itself of Atlantic migrations and histories.

Rumba is nowadays discussed all around the world, igniting many debates among the Congolese diaspora. Being the constant talk of the town sometimes overloads public debate, and many people get tired of this broken record. Thus, over the last decade, enterprising producers have worked hard to promote Kinshasa’s musical diversity and tried to emulate new sounds to reach worldwide attention. But Kin’ locals and urban dwellers will not be fooled : new shoots cannot hide the forest. Despite some difficulties to innovate, despite the pastoralist sermons and the diaspora fighters pushing for concert cancelations, rumba is still at the core of the Congo today. Talented artists such as Fally Ipupa, Ferré Gola, Brigade Sarbati and others are leading the fifth generation, and the religious world has also proven to be a nurturing environment for the cultural and economic dynamism of this music.

Focusing on the music of Brigade Sarbati and his Orchestra, this record offers a deep dive into Kinshasa’s rumba scene. Halfway between professional studios and Zoom H4 field recordings, the rumba herein is about today’s youth : dense, full of energy and breakdowns, insights and name-dropping. The cavacha rhythm, the solo and bass guitar’s playing style, the singing style and numerous dedications all resonate with the history of Rumba. In an era where digital sound is taking over, it is interesting to highlight the instrumental and live performance compositions of this music. Digital technology is indeed used during the recording and mixing phases, but Congolese rumba still relies strongly on instrumental playing. There is all that but also, many other things to hear on this record. So it’s time to let it be. A big thanks to Étienne Tron for making it possible: it is on his initiative and through his patience that this record is in your hands today.

David Nadeau-Bernatchez, december 2021.


A film by David N. Bernatchez and Sammy Baloji
CA/BE/RDC, 107 min, 2020

Directors : David N. Bernatchez and Sammy Baloji
Image : Kiripi Katembo Siku, Sammy Baloji, David N. Bernatchez, Nelson Makengo
Sound : David N. Bernatchez, Dolet Malalu, Serge Makobo
Editing : David N. Bernatchez
Sound editing : Simon Gervais
Colourgrading : Miléna Trivier
Sound design and mix : Simon Gervais, Paul Hubert, Alexis Pilon Gladu
Producers : Rosa Spaliviero and David N. Bernatchez
Associate producers : Carlo Lechea, Kiripi Katembo Siku, Serge Makobo
Executive production : Paysdenvie and Twenty Nine Studio & Production
Associate production : Mutotu and Idea
In coproduction with : Mu.ZEE (Ostende) and Festival d’Automne à Paris
With the support of : CALQ- Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec ; FRQSC- Fond de Recherche du Québec sur la Société et la Culture ; PRIM- Productions Réalisations Indépendantes de Montréal ; SPIRA- Coopérative de cinéastes indépendants

David N. Bernatchez is a Quebec filmmaker and producer. As an anthropologist, he has investigated the Congolese music scene. He divides his time between filmmaking, academic research and musical performance. Whether they focus on music (Rumba in fragments (2018)), sport (Temps temps (2009)) or more widely, on history and memory (Ludovica (2018), Joseph Samuel Jacques Julien (2015)), Berntachez's films constantly questions social and narrative structures. His images, performances and lectures had been presented in various contexts and countries.

Sammy Baloji is a visual artist and photographer. As a visual atist, Baloji juxtaposes photographic realities, combining past and present, the real and the ideal, to illicit glaring cultural and historical tensions. He explores architecture and the human body as traces of social history, sites of memory, and witnesses to operations of power. Selected filmography : Kasala: The Slaughterhouse of Dreams or the First Human, Bende’s Error
(2020), Tales of the Copper Crosses Garden : Episode 1 (2018), The Tower (2017), Pungulume (2016), Bare-faced (2011), Mémoire (2007)

Kiripi Katembo was a Congolese photographer and filmmaker: his camera was physical and his gaze penetrating. He was a unifier in his country, and very attached to Kinshasa, where he lived until his death in 2015. Organized by the Fondation Cartier in Paris, Congo Kitoko (1926-2015) is the last exhibition in which he participated during his lifetime.



released July 20, 2022

Direction Artistique et Production: Etienne Tron et David Nadeau-Bernatchez
Montage Sonore: Simon Gervais
Mix: Alexis Pilon-Gladu
Mastering: NIcolas Thelliez
Gravure sur Laque: André Perriat
Graphisme: Erwan Coutellier
Image de la Couverture: Sammy Baloji
Titrage: übernackig, Ismaël Bennani et Orfée Grandhomme
Textes: David Nadeau-Bernatchez

Rumba Rules, Nouvelles Généalogies
un film de Sammy Baloji et David Nadeau-Bernatchez, avec la collaboration de Kiripi Katembo Siku
Produit par Paysdenvie, Twenty Nine Studio & Production, Mutotu, Idea

Avec Brigade Sarbati et son orchestre:
Ya Mayi, Alfred Solo, Billy Basse, Aimé Dakota, Vedes Neymar, Mamboda Serge Modèle, Toum Mwana Chango ; Pitchou Travolta, Panneau Solaire, Chakaï Mumbala, Robinsao Lazar, String Lele Tonton World, Lumumba Ya Muana, Soleil Lizeze Patron, G Mabase Mopepe, Buldozer Soda, Giga; Xéna La Guerrière, Kirikou Mwana Matete, Choco Liboma, Sisi Edenda, Maître Ali Fantôme, CG René, Mentole Nsuka de Patates, 3X Bajoka Roi, MG 150, Fire Vedir Moto, Ruffin Keps, Pompom et tous les autres

David Nadeau-Bernatchez remercie:
Cantos, Yves Luambo, Pierre Bianchi, JP Kiss Kyungu, Pinoncé Didenda, Serge Makobo, Dolet Malalu, Rosa Spaliviero, Carlo Lechea, Peiré Brunnemer, Jean-Baptiste Hervé…

Etienne Tron remercie : Clémence de Bodinat (Cantos), Cécile Courtin (Out Here Music), Sebastiao Antonio Miluala, Pierre Bianchi, Paul Diowo, Benoît Hické (F.A.M.E.)

Secousse records - 2022


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