Culture

October 7, 2008 at 4:22 pm (Blogging, Culture, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guide, Nature, Photo, Photography, Photos, Pictures, Travel, Trip, Vacation)

The culture of the Democratic Republic of the Congo reflects the diversity of its hundreds of ethnic groups and their differing ways of life throughout the country – from the mouth of the River Congo on the coast, upriver through the rainforest and Savanna in its center, to the more densely populated mountains in the far east. Since the late 19th century, traditional ways of life have undergone changes brought about by colonialism, the struggle for independence, the stagnation of the Mobutu era, and most recently, the First and Second Congo Wars. Despite these pressures, the customs and cultures of the Congo have retained much of their individuality. The country’s 60 million inhabitants are mainly rural. The 30 percent who live in urban areas have been the most open to Western influences.

Another notable feature in Congo culture is its sui generis music. The DROC has blended its ethnic musical sources with Cuban Rumba, and Merengue to give birth to Soukous. Influential figures of Soukous and its offshoots (N’dombolo, Rumba rock …) are Luambo Franco, Tabu Ley, Lutumba Simaro, Papa Wemba, Koffi Olomide, Kanda Bongo, Ray Lema, Mpongo Love, Abeti Masikini, Reddy Amisi, [ Pasnas] Pepe Kalle and Nyoka Longo. Africa produces music genres which are direct derivatives of Congolese soukous. Some of the African bands even sing in Lingala, the main language in the DRC. The same Congolese Soukous, under the guidance of “le sapeur”, Papa Wemba, has set up the tone for a generation of young guys always dressed up in expensive designer’s clothes.

The Congo is also known for its art. Traditional art includes masks and wooden statues. Notable contemporary artists and fashion designer are Chéri Samba and Odette Krempin.

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