FLORENCE, S.C. – Celebration! Congo Choir will perform at the 28th-annual Art’s Alive festival on the campus of Francis Marion University, Saturday, April 16.
The group’s performance will begin at 1 p.m. in the Hyman Fine Arts Center’s Adele Kassab Recital Hall.
Celebration! Congo Choir is a troupe of 18 exceptionally talented, young adult singers, dancers and drummers from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), in Central Africa. The choir will perform a selection of joyful songs chosen specifically for its North American debut tour.
The theme of the Celebration! Congo Choir tour is “Bomoko” (pronounced boh-MOH-koh) – a word that comes from the Lingala language spoken in regions of the Congo, and denotes the idea that “all are one.” Choir songs and music derive from the choir’s goal “to use performing arts to promote unity between tribes, races and communities.”
Congolese Choir Master Oscar Diyabanza Matusongwa, who directs Celebration! Congo Choir, is an expert on the fusion of traditional African rhythms, harmonies and instruments with contemporary Western influences. While artistic director of the National Ballet in the nation formerly known as Zaire (now DRC), he created three ballets that toured Europe and Asia.
“This choir is an export of joy from a part of the world often viewed as being in crisis and not typically looked to for inspiration and uplifting messages,” said Jason Sheper, co-producer and co-organizer of Celebration! Congo Choir. “Audiences will be exposed to a Congolese choir with vibrant singing, drumming and African-inspired attire. They will share in the hope that is present in Central Africa despite its challenges. And they will experience an innovative use of the arts to support diversity – a topic that is relevant around the world.”
The Art’s Alive festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., rain or shine, and is free and open to the public. The event is a celebration of the visual and performing arts for the whole family, with simultaneous performances at five different venues on campus.
For more information, contact the FMU Office of Community Relations at 843-661-1225.
#132 / 3-31-05