Passion keeps orchestra playing in Kinshasa, Congo

Posted on: November 21, 2012

Tuesday (11/20) on CNN, Errol Barnett writes, “In the heart of Kinshasa, the frenzied capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, classical music has found an unlikely band of heroes. Past the noisy, gritty markets and the cacophony of the city’s congested streets, a large group of amateur local musicians has been defying adversity and challenges to bring musical harmony to one of Africa’s most chaotic capitals. Passionate about the likes of Beethoven and Handel, the Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste is a musical ensemble of some 200 enthusiastic men and women, eager to make their voices heard and follow their dream of making classical music. … Running such an orchestra in a city like Kinshasa is no easy task. Rehearsals usually take place in the late hours as most musicians have to work during the day to make a living. More often than not, power blackouts—a regular occurrence in Kinshasa—will bring the evening rehearsals to a temporary halt. … Musicians will often converge at the house of founder and conductor Armand Diangienda, which despite its large size cannot fit all of the group’s members; quite often some of the choir’s singers have to stand outside the rehearsal room, piling around open windows and doorways to make sure they are heard.”

Posted November 21, 2012