Tuesday, 18 August 2020

What is the origin of the Congo Rumba?


1/ The history of Congolese Rumba:

The “Nkoumba” later called in Cuba Rumba is a navel dance that originates in Central Africa, more precisely in the Kongo Kingdom and in the Central African Republic in “Mbati”, an ethnic group from the southwest of the country. In “Mbati”, as in “Moukongo”, “Nkoumba” means the navel. Among the “Bakongo” ethnic group located in the south of Democratic Congo, Congo Brazzaville, of Angola and among the “Mbati” of Central African Republic, the navel dance is a carnal folk expression allowing a couple of dancers to perform navel against belly button.

Jimmy Zakari

When African black slaves landed in Cuba 5 centuries ago with “Nkoumba” dance , the Afro-Caribbean were assimilated and their Africanism was withdrawn from popular cultural expression and baptized it Rumba for appropriate. From a linguistic point of view, Cuba still retains several words of African origin to this day, despite numerous transformations noted in the cultural heritage of the former slaves. Rumba keeps to this day some Bantu and Yoruba words which we hear in some Cuban songs.

When Rumba returned to Africa between the 1930s—1950s, it was reappropriated by Africans.

2/ The history of Cuban Rumba:

Cuban Rumba developed in the 19th century in the province of Matanzas, then in all its regions. Identified in Cuba as a Bantu Culture, Rumba is composed of a song, claves (two pieces of wood) which mark its tempo, three drums of different sounds (treble, medium and bass) which produce a consistent rhythm on several Heights.

Antoine Moundanda

Finally, the maracas played by the singer of the Rumba mark the highlight of the music and the second part is very dancing. Cuban Rumba has three diversities. Guaguanco is a set rhythm played with a lot of percussion solo. One of the peculiarities of Guanguanco is the charming dance performed by a couple of dancers on this music. The man through gestures seeks to seduce the woman on this variant of Rumba. Yambu is music marked by improvisations by the singer. The Yambu is slow and the dance imitates that of an elderly person with mobility problems. Finally, the very rhythmic Columbia is sung at the time in the sugar cane plantations in a mixture of Spanish and Africans by black slaves. It is a plaintive and fearful music on which only one man performs an acrobatic dance symbolizing bravery Rumba. 

3/The evolution of Congolese Rumba:

After Paulo Kamba, Jimmy Zakari and Wendo, Rumba was modernized with the African Jazz of Joseph Kabassélé in the late 1950s which introduced the electric guitar and the trumpet in this new style. 

Then, Lord Rochereau in the Congo DRC and Rodolphe Békpa in the Central African Republic introduce the drums in the African Rumba to give it tone. Then, Lord Rochereau and Franco Luambo Makiadi bring to the Congolese Rumba its letters of nobility through their texts which reflect the daily realities of Africa.

Over time, Rumba integrates other musical currents such as Jazz, Makossa, Pop and Soul. Nowadays, Rumba is running out of steam due to the lack of innovation from our artists. Also, texts that are often too long in Lingala are becoming less and less accessible. Animations, Generics in French and “l’Atalakou” or “Mabanga” (the fact of citing several names in Rumba) becomes a fashionable style and distorts this heritage which tends to internationalize.

Ivorians invent a shortened version of Soukouss, a variant of Rumba called Coupé Décalé. The popular Ivorian French, full of humor, makes this new musical genre accessible at the speed of a TGV and relegates the aging Rumba to the background.

Antoine Wendo Kolosoy

In the Central African Republic the Rumba of Bangui is sung in Sango, the national and official language of the country and takes into account the cultural diversities of its regions.

His sung lyrics express love, joie de vivre, daily life and themes of national awareness. For the past ten years, the Rumba of Bangui has been influenced by the traditional —modern style called “Montè-Nguènè” which is popularized by the group Zokéla.

•By Kevin Richardson

•Culled from www.quora.com

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