When Brigade Sarbati and his orchestra perform, it’s a blast of pure passion as they fuel their Congolese rumba with infectious Cuban rhythms, and African vocals and dancing. This nocturnal partying might seem casually improvised, but there’s hard work going on behind the scenes.
Rumba Rules, New Genealogies offers an enjoyable, rough-edged glimpse into the music scene of Kinshasa, with impromptu shots drawing the viewer into jam sessions on plastic chairs, and the quest for perfection at the studio. Shout outs are added to new numbers, in honor of the departed, family members, or sponsors—but which names should you choose? And the important thing isn’t whether the drummer is working up a sweat, it’s whether he understands the rhythm well enough.
We follow several of the artists and learn more about them: their lives in Congo and the many years of musical training that are the foundation of the orchestra’s success. “Together, we’re like family,” explains one of the members of the orchestra. Here, music is a connective force generated by creativity and raw energy.