Kinshasa SymphonyA film by Martin Baer and Claus Wischmann. 90 min., Kongo, WDR/RBB 2011
Two hundred orchestral musicians are playing Orff’s “Carmina Burana” in total darkness. A power cut has hit the Ngiri Ngiri district of Kinshasa, only a few bars before the last section of the work. Kinshasa’s power stations and main networks are insufficient to supply electricity to all the 8 million inhabitants of what is Africa’s third-largest city. Once again the lights have gone out in the “Salle des fêtes”, a kind of open garage where the orchestra practises. But for its members this is no reason to stop rehearsing. Most of them know their parts by heart. Small lapses of memory are compensated for by a talent for improvisation and the grace of God.