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Recognition of Congolese Rumba sparks reactions

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JOHN WESSELS/AFP or licensors


The Congolese Rumba has been added to UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage list joining the Cuban Rumba and other traditional African styles already on the list.

The recognition comes at the right time according to music critic Clément Ossinondé.

"This comes at the right time, especially at a time when musical production between the two Congos is experiencing enormous difficulties. I believe that the recognition of rumba as an intangible heritage of humanity will give a boost to young artists. So that they take up the work on this subject".

"It must be codified, that is to say a foreigner who arrives in Kinshasa or Brazzaville, who wants to do Rumba, must know what to start with. A dancer who wants to dance rumba must know what step to start with. It has to be codified so that the whole world knows what Congolese rumba is. Of course, there are other aspects that have to come into play much later. For example, we need a rumba museum, we need to organise rumba festivals and position our orchestras internationally at all the festivals held in Europe and the United States so that our orchestras can present rumba", defends the music critic.

"The real rumba is the one with three compartments: the verse, the chorus and the Seben. When you respect these three compartments, you have a beautiful rumba to come back to" concludes Clément Ossinondé.

The application and campaign to recognise the Congolese Rumba was put forward jointly by the Democratic Republic of Congo and neighbouring Congo-Brazzaville.

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