"Kinshasa Symphony" At NY African Film Festival

« previous episode | next episode »

Friday, April 01, 2011

In this week's Arts File, Kerry Nolan speaks with WNYC contributor Femi Oke about the Kinshasa Symphony Orchestra and a new film that tells its story.

The group got its start more than a decade ago as a collection of amateur musicians in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The 200 members of the orchestra have faced setbacks that most classical musicians would never dream of: wars, coups, power outages during performances, and more. But they have managed to stay together and win acclaim for their music, which is sometimes infused with African rhythms and musicality. A film about the group's triumphs and travails kicks off the New York African Film Festival on April 6th.

Sounding Images
Violist Joseph Masunda Lutete
Sounding Images
Tuba player Papy Nkituzeyi
Sounding Images
Orchestra manager Albert Nlandu Matubanza making a double bass
Sounding Images
Cellist Josephine Nsimba
Sounding Images
Choir of the Kinshasa Symphony Orchestra
Sounding Images
The Kinshasa Symphony Orchestra
Sounding Images
Conductor and founder of the group Armand Diangienda
Sounding Images
Flautist Nathalie Bahati


Femi Oke

Hosted by:

Kerry Nolan

Produced by:

Daniel P. Tucker

Comments [7]

wssymphony from Winston-Salem, NC

An incredibly inspiring story. As American orchestras are seemingly always quibbling, always facing [our own perception of] economic hardship and challenge, we forget that there are others who are getting by with much less.

Apr. 13 2011 10:59 AM
Kathy from winston-salem, nc

This film celebrates the tenacity of the human spirit. Neither the conductor nor the musicians gave up on each other. How beautiful to see people wanting joy in their lives and using their utmost creativity to ensure its survival against all odds. An incredibly inspiring story.

Apr. 12 2011 08:20 PM
Pamela Lewis from Elmhurst, Queens

Every time it seems as if classical music is about to breathe its last, something comes along to revive it, and often from a place we least expect. That the unexpected place is the Congo is a new "ode to joy."

Apr. 06 2011 09:44 PM
Dan from @changewithmusic

I occasionally think about how inspiring music can be, but this brings it to a whole new level.

Apr. 05 2011 03:33 PM
The Baobab Voice Podcast from USA

Music lifts souls out of hell in "Kinshasa Symphony". The love of music can make us limitless, even in war. This film is a provocation. It trivializes obstacles we think unsurmountable. You will have no woes to magnify, when you hear classical music from the Heart of Brightness, my Congo. BanaKin, Oye!

Apr. 02 2011 02:23 PM


Apr. 01 2011 04:43 PM
Gordon Astley from UK

Wonderful piece. I love Femi Oke. More please! I will look out for this film.

Apr. 01 2011 10:17 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

The WQXR e-newsletter. Show highlights, links to music news, on-demand concerts, events from The Greene Space and more.