Sounds of Africa: Kimbanguist Symphony Orchestra

I have consistently found that there is nothing more powerful or moving than a person with a passion. That passion can allow people to see green fields on a horizon where others only see mountains of obstacles. What makes the Kimbanguist Symphony Orchestra so a-ma-zing is the fact that it is made up of musicians driven 110% by the depths of their passion for classic music. How does one even begin to imagine a woman who sells fruit on the street by day, saving whatever cash she earns to buy a locally made (or via good 'ol China) violin, and then rehearses late into the night (obviously it goes without saying that she has to walk far to get home AND has kids to feed and care for) to play Beethoven or possibly sing.....in German?! Yes, I know, mind-blowing. Did I mention that the majority are self-taught? Yet that is exactly what the 200+ musicians of the only orchestra in Congo do almost every day for years!

Fast-forward 15 years from the beginning of the orchestra and German filmmakers have documented this incredible story of the human spirit. Kinshasa Symphony gives us a look into the lives of the musicians, the city and country, and most importantly the transformative nature of music. The thought that something Handel wrote in the early 1700s Germany provides joy and comfort to someone in 2010 Kinshasa who is introducing that same music to a whole generation of Congolese kids is something that simply cannot be measured....

The documentary is currently making the film festival rounds (including the Durban International Film Festival and the Black Harvest Film Festival in Chicago). Now if only I could get my hands on the DVD!

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