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Kinshasa Symphony Documentary: April 9, 2012

This week’s Noteworthy video is a trailer for a fascinating 2010 documentary on the Kinshasa Symphony, based in the war- and poverty-stricken capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. This amateur and volunteer orchestra, known officially as the Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste – in honor of Simon Kimbangu, a famed Congolese political icon and grandfather of the orchestra’s founder and conductor Armand Diangienda – began with a dozen musicians and half as many instruments, and a dream to tackle the masterpieces of the classical repertory. The trailer reveals just how remarkable the sheer existence of this orchestra is, which performs on hand-made instruments and rehearses in open-air fields alongside Kinshasa’s congested and smog-filled streets. And yet, such is the power of music and the impulse to make music that these challenges are triumphantly overcome. In this excerpt from the film – by Claus Wischmann and Martin Baer – we hear a few of the many struggles just to find instruments or a place to rehearse, in preparation for a formal concert of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. Enjoy, and tell us what you think!

Kinshasa Symphony Documentary Trailer (2010)

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