Two hundred orchestral musicians are playing Beethoven’s Ninth, Freude schöner Götterfunken—when a power outage strikes just a few bars before the last movement. Problems like this are the least of the worries facing the only symphony orchestra in the Congo. In the 15 years of the symphony’s existence, the musicians have survived two putsches, various crises and a war. But their concentration on music and hopes for a better future keeps them going. Kinshasa Symphony is a study of people in one of the world’s most chaotic cities doing their best to maintain one of the most complex systems of joint human endeavor: a symphony orchestra. A film about the Congo, the people in Kinshasa, and the power of music.


Bongo Barbershop
Charlie Ahearn, 2005, USA; 8m

An East African MC, Balozi Dola, wanders into a Bronx barbershop on his pilgrimage to find “the real hip hop.” The barber, Flash’s original partner DJ Easy Mike, calls out Grand Master Caz who rhymes about how they’re at the place of hip hop’s origins. Shop sweeper DOA adds vocal percussion to the mix and Balozi Dola rhymes back in his native Swahili. (“Bongo” is the Swahili expression for “brain” in local hip hop slang.) DIRECTOR IN PERSON!