Papa Wemba: Singing for a Brighter Congo

Caipirinha Short Films

In addition to releasing feature documentaries, Caipirinha Productions has produced an ongoing series of short films that focus on particular issues and locations. We continue to be engaged in these various campaigns and will publish our new shorts here as soon as they are completed!

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Papa Wemba: Singing for a Brighter Congo

As a young man Papa Wemba left his rural home in central Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for the city of Kinshasa to pursue his musical career. In 1969 he joined Zaiko Langa Langa, becoming part of a lineup that did not last long but whose members produced some of the country's most provocative music for years after their break-up. In the 1970s, during then-president Mobutu's "authenticité" campaign, which called for a revival of African roots and a rejection of all things Western, Wemba grew famous for rebelling against these strictures and dressing in avant-garde European fashion. In 1977 he formed a new group called Viva la Musica, membership in which has been a rite of passage for many of the country's most talented young artists. Throughout his career Papa Wemba has been an agent of free expression. Cultures of Resistance interviewed the legendary singer to talk about his music, the future of his country’s politics, and the tensions between politicians and artists in Africa.