On the Rumba River (2006)

Genres - Culture & Society, Music  |   Release Date - Jun 6, 2008 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 85 min.  |   Countries - France  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Mark Deming

Wendo Kolosoy was a former boxer and ship's mechanic from the Congo who in 1948 recorded a song called "Marie Louise" as Papa Wendo. Wendo's music, an infectious blend of Latin and African rhythms, took the nation by storm and he became an overnight star among the Congolese. However, while the sound Wendo created proved to have a lasting influence in the Congo, his own fame waned, and as he slipped into obscurity, he watched the sad history of his nation unfold, as the end of colonialism led to wave after wave of bloody violence. Wendo's music, however, has been discovered by a new generation of music fans, and the aging musician continues to perform as often as he can. Filmmaker Jacques Sarasin follows Wendo Kolosoy as he rehearses with his reunited band for a series of performances and the artist looks back on his past as well as that of the Congo in the documentary On the Rumba River. The film received its North American premiere at the 2007 Los Angeles Film Festival.

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Keywords

band [music group], career-retrospective, comeback, Congo, hardships, music-star, oppression, rumba, tribute