Many names, One spirit: music dance of Africa

Written by Jen Novelli. Posted in Gorilla Blog.

Soukous. Lingala. Ndombolo. Rumba. These terms represent a style of music and dance that is currently the hottest and fastest growing across Africa. They originate from the Congo, where the spirit of the people is being fought for in a different kind of battle, where musicians and artists create their craft in an effort to preserve the spirit that is not concerned with power and politics, but the spirit that finds its strength in the pouring out of truth - whether it be derived from heartache, tragedy, love or life. And one can hardly imagine music without dance. Styles, moves, routines, the energy that goes into moving your body to a beat and sound can create sincere expression of self and generate a connection with others that allows the mind to become powerful with motivations to live! change! be heard! Influenced by Rumba, Caribbean, Afro-Cuban, Congolese, and traditional African music, this style of music and dance began taking root in the late 1930s and early 1940s in the Congo. The work of early popular bands and artists like - Papa Wemba, Papa Wendo, TP OK Jazz, Bella Bella, and Wenge Musica (to name only a few) - paved the road for the music to spread, gain momentum and evolve as political pressure and conditions worsened in the 1970s in the Congo. Now, what is most commonly known as Ndombolo, is shared across Africa, in many different languages - French, English, African - with styles, dance and attitude all their own but carrying a common thread. For artists like JBlue LLP and producers like NB Holla, this common thread represents a sense of hope and commradory they have seen carry messages across land, and believe can do the same across hearts and minds in other countries and continents. It's cool to be conscious!

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