“Félicité” Shines a Light On Congolese Music

Want to discover the sounds of the Congo? Félicité will be music to your ears!

Competing at this year’s Berlinale festival, the film’s director, French-Senegalese Alain Gomis, picked up the Silver Bear Grand Jury prize for his cinematic effort. “Felicité” boasts an impressive musical foundation, recounting the tale of a singer forced to abandon her job to fund her son’s operation. Music plays as big a part in the narrative as any of the film’s stars, traversing its cinematic journey off screen as well as on. Leading actress Véro Tshanda Beya is testament to the fact; having started off her career as a singer, she took to the film like a duck to water, reincarnating the role of singer Félicité like a pro. With both women sharing the same musical “gene”, the sounds of the Congo run deep throughout the film, acting as backdrop for everyday life.

There’s more to the music, too! Local heroes Kasai Allstars have worked their own kind of magic on the film, creating an original soundtrack that’s bound to have you dancing through the night. On the flipside, the Kinshasa Orchestra take the sound of the film in a more classical direction, accompanying the mounting drama.

With a killer soundtrack under their belts and a new release in the works, the likes of Kasai Allstars and Kinshasa Orchestra are showcasing the sounds of the Congo to the rest of the world. Prepare to hear a lot more of this style in the future; the music is going international!