AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

Kinshasa

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Friday, May 2nd, 2014

‘In Search of Freedom’ (in the Democratic Republic of Congo)

“in SEARCH of FREEDOM” is a monthly video journal filmed in the Democratic Republic of Congo, offering a glimpse of my quest in the motherland with other afro-european artists such as Badi and Monique Mbeka Phoba. EDITION 01 : arriving in the capital Kinshasa and stunting on the road. EDITION 02 : greeting the (he)art

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Happy Africans

By 11am this morning Pharrell Williams' pop friendly and infectious "Happy" had racked up 138,948,968 views on Youtube and obviously making him and his record company a lot of money. If it's not enough that it is...

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

The Congolization Movement

On January 17th, a group of local artists (Pitcho Womba Konga, Fredy Massamba, Badi Banx, Caroline, Kamanda, Lety, Jack, Karim, Christian, Malkia and myself) pulled off "the Action" in L'Horloge Du Sud, better known as the Afro-European...

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

An Adieu to Tabu Ley Rochereau, King of Soukous

On November 30th, just this past Saturday, the “Baobab of Congolese Rumba” Tabu Ley Rochereau passed away at the age of 73. He died in Brussels at l’Hôpital Saint-Luc from diabetic complications, having never fully recovered from...

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Chief Boima interviews … Alec Lomami

This summer I’ve been hired as a freelancer for Iggy, MTV’s global music website. The site is aimed at young people to introduce them to the idea that pop music is a global phenomenon (if today’s tech...

Monday, May 13th, 2013

Did Britain’s MI6 have Patrice Lumumba murdered?

Africa is a Country readers may not regularly check the London Review of Books, a British literary magazine with a circulation just over 50,000–it’s meant more for Bloomsbury than Bamako or Bloemfontein (though some readers could probably...

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

Tsofa: A documentary film about Congolese immigrants in Romania

Congolese (Brazzaville) filmmaker Rufin Mbou Mikima has uploaded* his latest documentary “Tsofa” to YouTube. The film tells the story of a group of Congolese men, many of them highly qualified university graduates who got offered a 600...

Friday, October 12th, 2012

Soukous for Francophonie (and for Kabila)

Big concert this week, October 10, in Kinshasa to honor the 2012 Francophonie summit. Performances by Papa Wemba and Werrason with their groups have already been posted online. Also on the program were Mbilia Bel, Tshala Muana,...

Friday, May 11th, 2012

Interview: Baloji

New York is an amazing city, especially from a hip-hop perspective. It’s one of the few places on earth where you can see that hip-hop is part of the culture, not just something that you watch on...

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Parisian Africa: The artistic intersections of the Métropole

Guest Post by Lara N. Dotson-Renta Paris has always been renowned for its culture and support of the arts. Yet, as France has grown into an ever more pluralistic society, the traditional image of what constitutes art...

Saturday, April 7th, 2012

The World of Congolese artist Pume Bylex

In the introduction to The World According to Bylex, Filip De Boeck and Koen Van Synghel describe the Congolese artist Pume Bylex as “not interested in the day-to-day reality of Kinshasa. turns his attention to what...

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Tomorrow’s Marching Band

In the DRC, city life isn’t foremost defined by the image of the child soldier (contrary to what some campaigns would have you believe) but rather by that of the street child. Seen by many as a...

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

‘Very African and Very Modern’

It may be tempting to read Congolese-Belgian rapper Baloji's music as a relatively straightforward exercise in “indigenizing” or localizing hip-hop, but the story of his transnational musical moorings — especially his ambivalence toward Congolese pop — complicates...

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Sapeurs and Cemeteries

Recent work by Congolese artist Yves Sambu--bringing together his interest in contemporary sapeurs and cemeteries-- is a a good antidote to the colorful portrayal of the 'Society of Tastemakers and Elegant People' we're used to.

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Music Break. LeslyMan

“What do they really know about us?” Fair question from Congolese artist LeslyMan. He could have added: do they still want to know about us now that the elections are over? Remember LeslyMan from last year’s collaboration...

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

How to write about elections in Africa

With a few elections coming up next year, journalist Jina Moore already has the template down for covering them:

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Hulk Hogan in Kinshasa

Kinshasa’s unique brand of professional wrestling culture has suddenly attracted a number of artists and photographers to the city. They include Colin Delfosse (above), Benedicte Kurzen, Gwenn Dubourthoumieu, Vincent Boisot, Pieter Hugo and Keith Harmon Snow. Like...

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Music Break. Alec Lomami

Dapper Congolese-American rapper Alec Lomami (interviewed here by MTV Iggy) shouts outs his old hometown Kinshasa over a disco beat. Photo Credit: Shako Oteka

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Viva Kinshasa

One of the most exciting films to come out of the continent recently is the Congolese gangster noir, ‘Viva Riva!’ Sean already blogged about it here when it just started to attract a lot of hype. I...

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Photography. Jean Depara

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

Music Break / Youssoupha

Kinshasa-born rapper Youssoupha moved to France at the age of 10. Ever since releasing his first tapes he’s been strident in his critique of the French media’s lazy depicting of the festering banlieues. In 2009, columnist Éric...

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

Music Break / Lexxus

New video for the Congolese AIAC favorite Lexxus, recorded in Kinshasa, featuring the Kinois rapper LeslyMan.

Friday, July 8th, 2011

Music Break / J Martins and Fally Ipupa

Nigeria and Congo. From 2010. J Martins featuring Fally Ipupa. It’s a remix. The latter owns the track. If you don’t want to wait, fast forward to the 1:49 mark.

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

Music Break / Lokua Kanza

The music video for “Nakozonga” by Congolese musician Lokua Kanza.

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

Music Break

‘Feel Me’ is the second track from a soon-to-be released EP by (Kinshasa-born) Finnish rapper Gracias. (‘HKI’ was a first.) I can’t remember last seeing a copy of King Leopold’s Ghost featured in a music video. H/T:...

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

‘Lost in Kinshasa’

Listen here.

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Tintin in Congo

Earlier this year, the Congolese government declared European development commissioner Karel De Gucht persona non grata because of comments he made to the European Parliament, stating that the weakness of the Congolese state meant that EU aid...

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Music Break

K.ommando Toxik’s output has been prolific this year. See for example their Persona Non Grata or their appearance in the all-star videos Le Clip Kongolais and Bana Congo RD. “Afrika Star” is another single from their latest...

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Children of Kinshasa

If you have seen the 1987 movie La Vie est Belle (Life is Rosy), you probably remember the aspiring musician Kourou (played by Papa Wemba) getting himself in some trouble in this scene. Here, in the latest...

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Film: Filip De Boeck’s “Cemetery State”

The Belgian anthropologist Filip De Boeck (remember his excellent “Kinshasa: Tales of the Invisible City“) recently finished a thought-provoking documentary, “Cemetery State,” on Kinshasa’s largest burial grounds. Here’s a synopsis of the film from when it recently...

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