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The Rumba Kings - Documentary Review (Melbourne Documentary Film Festival 2021)

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Forging a new identity through music

The Rumba Kings is all about the music, the lifeblood of the musicians and the people who loved it. Along the way, it helped a nation that fought colonial oppression in the mineral-rich African nation, and forged a new identity through music. This is a celebration of the epic quest of The Democratic Republic of The Congo.

Screening at the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival, which runs for all of July 2021, be sure to visit the website to get your tickets for both Online (1-31 July 2021) and IRL In-Cinema (21-31 July 2021) selections. All documentaries are geo-blocked to Australia and once a doco is unlocked you have 48 hours to complete your viewing (after you press play).

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Images - Melbourne Documentary Film Festival 2021

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. Through the voices of an extensive array of Congolese historians, music experts, and a comprehensive cast of musicians, never-before-seen footage of the historic performance of Franco Luambo and his OK Jazz orchestra and more, this documentary is a tour de force for music lovers. It is also dotted with amazing, captivating black and white photographs supporting the timeline of life and music in The Congo.

Dedicated to the golden age of Congolese rumba, this film by Peruvian director Alan Brain traces the course of the history and takes you back to the crucial years preceding the Congo's accession to independence. It was a time when the people were oppressed and treated like they didn't matter or count in society. It was in two crucial decades, between the 1940s and 1960s, that Leopoldville (now Kinshasa), as well as Brazzaville, gave birth to the music that would make the whole of Africa dance. It was more than the soundtrack of resistance, it was resistance itself. This is a story little known outside of Africa, a documentation of how Congolese musicians adapted 1950s Cuban dance music and turned it into a musical powerhouse. Head to the website and discover the musicians and the experts that played a part in making this doco and hear from Alan Brain and how he came about making a film about Congolese music. The whole documentary is like a full album of tribute to the music and its musicians. Must love music to watch this documentary!
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Why? The Rumba Kings Documentary Review
When: 1-31 July 2021
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