THE REAL TREASURE
OF CONGO

DOES NOT LIE
UNDERGROUND
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"THE ONE (FILM) THAT ALL YOU MUSIC LOVERS HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR."

PAN AFRICAN MUSIC / Magazine

"THE BEST FILM ABOUT CONGOLESE RUMBA TO APPEAR YET."

AFROPOP / Magazine

"THE RUMBA KINGS IS A POWERFUL MUSICAL EXPERIENCE SHOWING US WHY CONGO IS ONE OF THE MOTHERLANDS OF MUSIC."

JEFFREY LEVY-HINTE / Editor of Oscar-winning documentary When We Were Kings, and director of award-winning documentary Soul Power.

"AN AMAZING FILM! THE BEAUTY, DIGNITY, TALENT AND SOUL OF CONGO IS PERFECTLY REPRESENTED. EVERYONE NEEDS TO SEE THIS FILM."

MARK JOHNSON / Grammy-winning producer and director of the documentary Playing for Change.

"IN THE DOCUMENTARY THE RUMBA KINGS, ALAN BRAIN, MASTERFULLY DESCRIBES THE HISTORY OF CONGOLESE RUMBA AND ITS SYMBIOTIC RELATIONSHIP WITH THE AFRO-CUBAN RHYTHMIC PATTERNS."

JUAN DE MARCOS GONZÁLES / Musical director of renowned music ensembles Buenavista Social Club and Afrocuban All Stars.

“CONGO GUITAR GODS. THE CUBAN CONNECTION. THE INDÉPENDANCE CHA CHA. WHAT'S NOT TO LIKE? THIS FILM FILLS A HOLE IN OUR KNOWLEDGE ABOUT HOW MUSIC TRAVELED IN THE POSTCOLONIAL BLACK WORLD.  BEAUTIFULLY SHOT AND RECORDED, RICH WITH ARCHIVAL MATERIAL, ITS LOVING DEDICATION TO THE MUSIC AND THE MUSICIANS LIGHTS UP EVERY FRAME."

NED SUBLETTE / Author of Cuba and its Music.

TRAILER

SCREENINGS

May 6 -16, 2021 - DOXA Film Festival (World Premiere) - ONLINE

June 16 - 27, 2021 - In-Edit Brasil Film Festival (South American Premiere) - ONLINE

September 11, 2021 - Brussels International Film Festival (European Premiere) - PHYSICAL

September 11, 2021 - Musical Écran Film Festival (French Premiere) - PHYSICAL

September 11, 2021 - Richmond International Film Festival (USA Premiere) - PHYSICAL

September 22 - October 3, 2021 - Montreal International Black Film Festival (Montreal Premiere) ONLINE & PHYSICAL

October 1 - 31, 2021 - Melbourne Documentary Film Festival (Australasia Premiere) - ONLINE

October 2 - Afrika Film Festival (Louvain) - PHYSICAL- with post screening concert by Dizzy Mandjeku & Odemba OK All Stars

October 8 - 17, 2021 - Seattle Latino Film Festival - ONLINE

"CONGOLESE RUMBA, THAT'S US. IT'S IN OUR BLOOD."
Roitelet | Vocalist, Guitarist, and Contrabassist
"WE HAD BANDS THAT WERE AS FAMOUS AS THE BEATLES OR THE ROLLING STONES."
Clément Ossinonde | Music Journalist
"CONGOLESE RUMBA WILL NEVER GET WRINKLES."
Papa Wemba | Vocalist

SYNOPSIS

The Rumba Kings celebrates the epic quest of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, an African nation that fought colonial oppression, found freedom, and forged a new identity through music. In the 1950s, when the Democratic Republic of the Congo was a Belgian colony, a generation of Congolese musicians fused traditional African rhythms with Afro-Cuban music to create the electrifying beat of Congolese rumba. A beat that would carry Congo through its independence and conquer the entire African continent with its infectious groove, captivating guitar licks, and smooth vocals. 

THE MUSICIANS

BRAZZOS

Brazzos

Antoine Mwango Armando (1934-2019), alias Brazzos, was a Congolese rumba rhythm guitar player and composer from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Brazzos was a member of some of the most popular Congolese rumba orchestras of the 1950s-60s such as OK Jazz, African Jazz and Nègro Succèss. 

GUVANO

Guvano

Jean-Paul Vangu Diakanua is a Congolese rumba guitar player and composer from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Guvano Brazzos was a member of some of the most popular Congolese rumba orchestras of the 1950s-60s such as African Fiesta National, Festival de Maquisards and Festival de Sam et Guvano. 

KUKA MATHIEU

Kuka Mathieu

Nkuka Mathieu Mwana Bitala (1931-2017) was a vocalist and composer from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Kuka Mathieu was a member of some of the most popular Congolese rumba orchestras such as Vox African and Grand Kallé’s orchestra African Jazz. 

MANU DIBANGO

Manu Dibango

Emmanuel N’Djoké Manu Dibango (1933 – 2020) was a Cameroonian musician and songwriter who played saxophone and vibraphone. Manu Dibango is best known for his song “Soul Makossa”, that became an international hit reaching the top 35 in the Billboard ranks in 1973, and that was later adapted and used by Michael Jackson and Rihanna in their own recordings.

PAPA WEMBA

Papa Wemba

Jules Shungu Wembadio (1949-2016) was a singer and musician from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who played Congolese rumba, soukous and ndombolo. Papa Wemba’s music path started in 1969, when he joined the music band Zaiko Langa Langa. Papa Wemba was one of the most popular musicians of his time in Africa and played an important role in the world music scene. 

MANUAKU

Manuaku

Pepe Félix Manuaku Waku is a Congolese Rumba guitarist and composer from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. His style of guitar playing is considered as the third style of Congolese rumba guitar, after the guitar styles of Dr. Nico (Fiesta) and Franco Luambo (Odemba). Manuaku was the main guitar player of Zaiko Langa Langa, an early band of Congolese rumba megastar Papa Wemba. 

PETIT PIERRE

Petit Pierre

Pierre Yantula Elengesa from the Democratic Republic of Congo, was the main percussionist of the African Jazz orchestra from 1960 until 1963. In 1960, at a very young age, Petit Pierre traveled with the African Jazz to Brussels to perform for the Congolese politicians who were negotiating Congo’s independence from Belgium. 

ROITELET

Roitelet

Augustin Moniania (1934-2014) was a Congolese rumba vocalist, guitarist, contrabassist and composer from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Roitelet performed and recorded with most of the legendary record labels of the golden era of Congolese Rumba such as CEFA, Opika, Loningisa and Esengo and was a member of the OK Jazz and Rock’A Mambo orchestra.

SIMARO

Simaro Lutumba

Simaro Massiya Lutumba Ndomanueno (1938-2019) was a Congolese rumba rhythm guitar player, composer and lyricist from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He was one of the key members of Franco Luambo’s OK Jazz orchestra. Simaro is considered as one of the great composers of Congolese rumba, probably the greatest.

THE EXPERTS

CLÉMENT OSSINONDE

Clément Ossinonde is a music columnist from Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of Congo. Clément has hosted several radio shows in Radio Congo and Radio Liberté. He is a former director of the Union of Congolese Musicians (UMC) and the National Union of Writers and Artists of Congo (UNEAC). Clément has devoted his life to the promotion and development of Congolese rumba. Clément has written several books about Congolese rumba.

JEAN-PIERRE NIMY

Jean-Pierre François Nimy Nzonga is a musicologist, historian and former minister from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He is the author of the book Dictionnaire des immortels de la musique congolaise moderne, an exhaustive and rigorous work that presented, for the first time, the biographies of more than 330 Congolese rumba musicians, all explored and documented from a historical, sociological and anthropological perspective.

LUBANGI MUNIANIA

Lubangi Muniania is an historian from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, specializing in the visual and performing arts of Africa. Lubangi worked as the Director of Education at the Museum for African Art in New York. He has produced educational events for organizations such as Harvard University, Yale University, Columbia University, the United Nations, Africa-America Institute, Sony, AT&T and NBC.

CREATIVE TEAM

Alan Brain

DIRECTOR

Alan Brain Delgado is a Peruvian-American filmmaker and journalist. His 26-year career includes editing and directing commercial ads, short and long form documentaries, feature-length movies and TV series. Alan Brain has worked as story editor for several prominent Peruvian journalists such as César Hildebrandt, one of the most important Peruvian journalists of the last decades. Alan has also collaborated as an editor, in several projects of the renowned Peruvian Hollywood Film Director and Producer, Luis Llosa. From 2008 until 2014, Alan worked as a documentary filmmaker for the United Nations mission to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. There, Alan developed a passion for Congolese music and started working in The Rumba Kings.

Manda Tchebwa

HISTORICAL CONSULTANT

Manda Tchebwa is an interdisciplinary researcher, historian, and author from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. His main body of research relates to Bantu and Afro-Caribbean traditions, culture and music. He holds a doctorate in Human Rights from the UNESCO Chair at the University of Kinshasa. Manda Tchebwa has been a consultant for several African and international organizations such as the African Union, the International Organization of La Francophonie and UNESCO. Manda Tchebwa has published more than 25 books about African civilisations, focusing on their history and their cultural traditions, 12 of them are devoted to Congolese rumba and Afro-cuban music.

Alastair Johnston

CONSULTING PRODUCER

Alastair Johnston is an author and small press publisher from the United States of America. He taught Visual Studies at the University of California from 1979 until 2011. After spending several months traveling through Africa, in 1983 he became passionately interested in the music of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since then, he has written about Congolese music in WIRED, Whole Earth Review, Songlines and his own online magazine called “muzikifan”. Alastair is the author of the only biography and discography of the legendary Congolese rumba guitar player, Nicolas Kasanda, alias Dr. Nico.

Mirella Bellido - Sound Designer

SOUND DESIGNER

Mirella Bellido is a sound supervisor and sound designer from Peru. She has worked on the sound of more than 20 feature-length films, fiction and documentary, from different countries such as France, Canada, Chile and Peru. She has been part of the sound team behind the award winning Peruvian film “Retablo” and the commercially successful Peruvian film “Once Machos”. She is currently working on the post-production of two new Peruvian feature-length films "Among these trees that I have invented" and "Antonia in life".

KUDOS

“CONGO GUITAR GODS. THE CUBAN CONNECTION. THE INDÉPENDANCE CHA CHA. WHAT'S NOT TO LIKE? THIS FILM FILLS A HOLE IN OUR KNOWLEDGE ABOUT HOW MUSIC TRAVELED IN THE POSTCOLONIAL BLACK WORLD.  BEAUTIFULLY SHOT AND RECORDED, RICH WITH ARCHIVAL MATERIAL, ITS LOVING DEDICATION TO THE MUSIC AND THE MUSICIANS LIGHTS UP EVERY FRAME."

NED SUBLETTE / Author of Cuba and its Music.

“BEAUTIFULLY SHOT AND WITH REMARKABLE ARCHIVAL FOOTAGE, THE RUMBA KINGS TELLS AN IMPORTANT STORY THAT IS TOO LITTLE KNOWN OUTSIDE OF AFRICA. I CAN’T RECOMMEND THIS FILM HIGHLY ENOUGH, WHETHER FOR THE EXPERT OR FOR AUDIENCES NEW TO THE GLORIES OF AFRICAN MUSIC.”

PROFESSOR R.M.SHAIN / Author of Roots In Reverse: Senegalese Afro-Cuban Music and Tropical Cosmopolitanism

"THE RUMBA KINGS VIVIDLY DOCUMENTS AND PORTRAYS THE REMARKABLE STORY OF HOW CONGOLESE MUSICIANS ADAPTED 1950s CUBAN DANCE MUSIC AND TURNED IT INTO A VEHICLE FOR THEIR OWN CREATIVITY. IN THE PROCESS THEY MADE THE CONGO A MUSICAL POWERHOUSE."

DR. PETER MANUEL / ethnomusicologist, John Jay College, City University of New York.

WITH THE SUPPORT OF

Africa Museum
Logo Gladys Palmera

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