Benda Bilili: interview with Florent de la Tullaye

Posted: September 17, 2010 in Africa news, African music, content web, Musique africaine, Urban musique
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Benda Bilili is a film and a documentary. Is it your goal to make this kind of films?

Yes, well initially it was not expected to be a movie. Indeed, we make documentary films, this is our third, and, of course, we worked on in post production to adapt it to the screen.
At the beginning, when we met with the staff “Benda Bilili” in 2004, it was primarily intended to make an album, only a few years later, as we filmed everything, we realized by watching those videos that we had a special material about this group who was emerging and who probably would get so far.

How did you meet the staff of the group “Benda Bilili?

In 2004, we were doing a short film about the urban music of Kinshasa, we were hanging out in the streets of Kinshasa with our cameras, and one night we were attracted by the sound of a group who played in a corner of the city at night. We came across the band, and then we began to meet with them, at that time we realized that they had their own repertoire, and played their own music. The songs that they played weren’t covers because they play the “Satongé” and that’s how at one point we proposed them to record an album

This is your third film about the city of Kinshasa and you are producing another one. Why is this fascination by this city?

It is truly a city for which we had a flash the first time we went there, we witnessed that it was a city of artists. Often one says that there is a musician in every household and this is quite true. We know the area very well and we meet many people who tell us great stories that make us want to continue making films there. It is a city of artists for us.

And why not Lagos, Dakar …
Historically, Kinshasa is the capital of African music which has an enormous influence on the rest of the continent. Ten years of war since 1996 have avoided spreading the word about its artistic productions, except of course in Congo. We know other African cities, but certainly, in Kinshasa, there is something quite exceptional. A kind of incredible energy among artists and also among people who live there. It has nothing to do with West Africa, it is truly special. But Congo also has a central location, and Kinshasa is a city where there are immigrants from different backgrounds. This latter has created a kind of energy that we can hear in music.

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