Rumba fest charms WeUtonga

HARARE – Celebrated female bassist, Edith WeUtonga, is delighted to have participated at the recent Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)’s Festival Rumba Parade.

The fifth edition of the festival ran from October 2 to 5, and WeUtonga is the first Zimbabwean musician to showcase at the annual event.

“Rumba Parade is happening in Lubumbashi and yours truly was invited to perform! Yesterday, I attended a presentation of papers by professors, academic doctors, Monsieur and Critiques on different Rumba attributes to their history.

“It’s a culture, their dance, language, football and fashion is all encapsulated in the music that is rumba!

“There was an exhibition of the music and the musicians that have made the history for the DRC, Pepe Kalle, Zaiko Langa Langa, Lady Isa, Werrason, JB Mpiana, Papa Wemba, Abeti, Mbilia Bel etc ... I am wondering what is our culture as a people in Zimbabwe ..,” WeUtonga said in a Facebook post.

Congolese Rumba, a national cultural heritage, was celebrated through the Rumba Parade Festival.

The event was part of the awareness and support of the process of Unesco’s inscription of Congolese Rumba as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Professor André Yoka, Coordinator of the National Commission for the Promotion of Rumba, states, “The history of Congolese rumba is both an odyssey and an epic.”

“An odyssey because part of the bunkers of transatlantic slave ships from the 15th century and especially in the form of codes chanted clandestinely on the basis of the nostalgic rhythms of abandoned land, rumba arrived in the Americas as shapeless and fragmented residues.

“On the spot, notably in Central America and Cuba, with the interferences of other Amerindian rhythms and European, especially Iberian, the rumba was structured.

“Then in the 19th-20th centuries, during the colonial period, she returned to Africa, with a focal point in Central Africa, thanks to Greek, Portuguese and Jewish traders.

“This rumba was all about miscegenation and an Afro-Cuban syncretism.

“It was during the colonial period that the Congolese (those of Kinshasa and those of Brazzaville) adopted it, reclaimed it by making it a special heritage.

“As for Katanga, it has inspired rather Anglo-Saxon rhythms from South Africa.

“The Congolese rumba is also an epic: under various tones, the rumba of the two Congo has become a kind of passion for life, a second nature with its festive and playful ambiances, with the undermining, with the codes of seduction in Lingala language, with its extensions in the field of popular religious music among others.”

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