Rumba is nowadays discussed all around the world, igniting many debates among the Congolese diaspora. Being the constant talk of the town sometimes overloads public debate, and many people get tired of this broken record. Thus, over the last decade, enterprising producers have worked hard to promote Kinshasa’s musical diversity and tried to emulate new sounds to reach worldwide attention. But Kin’ locals and urban dwellers will not be fooled : new shoots cannot hide the forest. Despite some difficulties to innovate, despite the pastoralist sermons and the diaspora fighters pushing for concert cancelations, rumba is still at the core of the Congo today. Talented artists such as Fally Ipupa, Ferré Gola, Brigade Sarbati and others are leading the fifth generation, and the religious world has also proven to be a nurturing environment for the cultural and economic dynamism of this music.
Focusing on the music of Brigade Sarbati and his Orchestra, this record offers a deep dive into Kinshasa’s rumba scene. Halfway between professional studios and Zoom H4 field recordings, the rumba herein is about today’s youth : dense, full of energy and breakdowns, insights and name-dropping. The cavacha rhythm, the solo and bass guitar’s playing style, the singing style and numerous dedications all resonate with the history of Rumba. In an era where digital sound is taking over, it is interesting to highlight the instrumental and live performance compositions of this music. Digital technology is indeed used during the recording and mixing phases, but Congolese rumba still relies strongly on instrumental playing. There is all that but also, many other things to hear on this record. So it’s time to let it be. A big thanks to Étienne Tron for making it possible: it is on his initiative and through his patience that this record is in your hands today.