Rumba bars

by Fiston Mwanza Mujila

Une Grande Nation (Issue IV/2017)


On every street corner and in every bar, no matter how small, there is a guitar player. They play the Congolese rumba, which is most comparable to jazz. Rumba songs traditionally begin with a story. The singer complains of his suffering and talks through his heartbreak. Then the tempo increases and the guitar plays alone. It is at this point that the audience starts to dance. That’s when things can get pretty out of control, as 80-year-olds start moving like they’re 20.

Once I said I’d like to write how the Congolese rumba sounds. By that I mean, I’d like my books to be wild but also subtle and political. The lyrics always revolve around the situation in this country. Whenever somebody comes to Congo I always advise them: Check out a rumba bar. Because if you understand the rumba, then you understand my homeland. 



similar articles

Poorest nation, richest nation (Topic: Inequality)

In god’s name

by Michaël Eustache Mounzatela

On why it is actually not religious differences that are dividing the Christians and Muslims of the Central African Republic. 

more


Poorest nation, richest nation (Topic: Inequality)

Poor in Qatar, rich in the Central African Republic: The billionaire of Boy-Rabe

by Beaumont Karnou

It’s no coincidence that one of the richest men in the Central African Republic is a politician. His name is Fidèle Gouandjika and he was a former Minister of Communications here. He likes to describe himself as “the billionaire of Boy-Rabe”. 

more


Make it yourself (Topic: Make it yourself!)

A thumb piano

by Joseph Weinberg

Make an instrument that sounds like the sea: a mbira.

more


Heroes (World report)

A big prison

by Reagan Mwanaweka

More and more young people are pushing for change and joining Congo's Lucha movement, despite the risks.

more


Someone else's paradise (In practice)

Stealing the show

by Sahar Mechri Kharrat

The cultural project “Tunisia88” introduces young people to a whole new world of music.

more


Poorest nation, richest nation (Topic: Inequality)

Everyday Life in the Central African Republic

by Gundula Haage

What sets one nation apart from others? Customs, traditions and social graces are key. Here we explore how societies tick in Qatar and the Central African Republic, from flirting to bartering to death rites.

more