The graceful, groove music of Congolese rumba was added Tuesday to UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage record, sparking delight within the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Congo Brazzaville, the place the style has supplied the soundtrack for festivities starting from Independence Day celebrations to birthday events.
A UNESCO summit on Tuesday accepted the 2 nations’ joint software so as to add rumba to its Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity record, the place it joins Cuban rumba, the Central African Republic’s polyphonic pygmy music and the drums of Burundi.
“The rumba is used for celebration and mourning, in personal, public and spiritual areas,” stated the UNESCO quotation. It’s a vital and consultant a part of the id of Congolese individuals and their diaspora, the UN’s cultural and scientific company added.
The addition to the UNESCO record was welcomed by the 2 nations located on both facet of the Congo River.
“It’s finished. The rumba has been registered by UNESCO on its intangible cultural heritage of humanity record. An occasion to be celebrated on each banks of the Congo River,” tweeted DRC authorities spokesman Patrick Muyaya.
Out of Africa to South America – and again
Specialists have positioned rumba’s origins within the historical central African kingdom of Kongo, the place individuals practised a dance referred to as “Nkumba” or “navel” in Kikongo.
Africans introduced their music and tradition throughout the Atlantic via the slave commerce, finally giving delivery to jazz in North America and rumba in South America.
Merchants then introduced the music again to Africa via data and guitars in newer instances.
When the music of the slave colonies in Spanish Cuba arrived again in Africa on 78 rpm data, it was instantly recognised as rumba and led to a musical resurgence within the Congo basin space.
Top-of-the-line recognized rumba singles, “Indépendance Cha Cha”, was composed and carried out in 1960 by Joseph Kabasele, higher recognized by his stage title, Le Grand Kallé.
It was a smash hit throughout Africa and the postcolonial world, commemorating “The 12 months of Africa”, when 17 African nations lastly gained independence.
The fashionable model of rumba lives on cities and bars within the DRC and Congo Brazzaville. Rumba attracts on nostalgia, cultural change, resistance, resilience and the sharing of delight via its flamboyant “sape” costume code.
Of affection and politics
Sung primarily in Lingala, rumba songs sometimes are about love – however political messages have additionally been a function of the style.
There have additionally been much less wonderful intervals of the Congolese rumba, when the music was exploited as propaganda by these in energy.
Rumba stars are often controversial or mired in scandals.
A French court docket on Monday convicted high-profile DRC performer Koffi Olomide of holding 4 of his former dancers in opposition to their will throughout excursions.