Permeating the daily life of one of the great orchestras of the current generation, Rumba Rules proposes an incursion into the mysteries of a monumental African music. Ya Mayi, Lumumba, Xéna La Guerrière, Pitchou Travolta, Alfred Solo, Soleil Patron and many others: nearly thirty artists feed the creative life of the Brigade Sarbati Orchestra. By entering the group and the city of Kinshasa, the film gets into the rumba as if it were penetrating a rootstock. Through studio work, rehearsals and concerts, different portraits offer a foray into the dynamics and stories of this highly acclaimed Congolese music. From local roots to the patrons from the diaspora, the voices of Rumba Rules polyphony are past and present.
Dir. David N. Bernatchez, Sammy Baloji - 107min - 2020 Canada, Belgium, Democratic Republic of Congo
"An up-close-and-personal portrait of the long-running Brigade Sarbati Orchestra, a titan in the Congolese music scene, this vibrates with the energy that emanates from studio rehearsals and live performances. Juxtaposed with fly-on-the-wall observations of lengthy recording sessions is vibrant footage of the bustling Kinshasa streets, a dynamic flow of imagery that underlines how rumba forms an integral part of the country’s cultural heritage." - Guardian
"offers an enjoyable, rough-edged glimpse into the music scene of Kinshasa, with impromptu shots drawing the viewer into jam sessions on plastic chairs, and the quest for perfection at the studio.... Here, music is a connective force generated by creativity and raw energy." - IDFA