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A first Kinshasa Piano Festival expected from October 23rd to 29th

Kinshasa, October 17th, 2021 (CPA).- Kinshasa city will host, for the first time, a meeting of musical expression centered on the piano called “Festival Pianos of Kinshasa”, an event organized by the structure “Studio 1960” from October 23rd to 29th, under the theme « Improvisation« , with the aim of bringing together Congolese and foreign pianists around the reflections on this musical instrument, indicates the organizers of this activity during an interview with CPA.

Initiated by the pianist and composer David Shongo, artistic director, this festival is a musical meeting of international scope devoted to the piano and to pianistic talents from all walks of life, with a view to creating a local industry and providing time for reflection on this that can be the piano from Kinshasa.

The festival’s programming emphasizes alternative productions and new musical writings from the piano and other keyboard instruments such as: marimba, xylophone, organ, synthesizer, accordion and piano at tangents, Shongo said.

For the coordinator of this festival, Julie Grimoud, this project is that of a construction and a meeting, because beyond the maintained fractures of the city, the festival takes the gesture of making the talent of pianists heard in two spaces always cut off from each other, namely: that of the very rich and that of the very poor, that of those who have power and that of those who do not, open spaces and closed spaces.

« We want to overcome this opposition which is an image, a representation, both on one side and on the other, a blindness maintaining the bad drama that we pretend to fear or on which we take pleasure in feeling sorry« , she declared.

Kinshasa Pianos Festival, a project led by a collective of Congolese and French artists

Moreover, according to the organizers, Kinshasa Pianos Festival is not a simple program of concerts, but a project carried by a collective of Congolese and French artists. It is sponsored by the Swiss pianist Nik Baertsch, the festival is organized by Kinshasa team, composed of 5 executive members including: David Shongo, Hadassa Ngamba, Julie Grimoud, Lenyema Okiteke and Peter Miyalu.

This cultural mass will include several activities, namely: concerts, workshops, as well as conferences aimed at promoting the piano in Kinshasa. The program for this edition invites four Congolese pianists and a Japanese pianist to reflect on the chosen theme.

For his part, the artistic director David Shongo, underlined the interest of the Pianos project which, in addition to the programming of pianists in Kinshasa, will give a more advanced representation of the piano as a musical instrument in its historical and cultural foundations.

« It will be a question of initiating a deep reflection on the conception of the piano in Kinshasa space », he stressed, « on its historical and artistic journey in relation to the device of musical creation in Kinshasa and Congolese, as well as on the points of connections or distancing with other types of piano, such as one can see it with the African-American or Iranian piano. The question is to go beyond the classical representation of the Piano.

Improvisation as a possibility of singular narratives

Addressing the question on the theme of the first edition of the festival, namely: « Improvisation », the artistic director indicated that the pianists are invited to reflect and explore their own human experiences, understood and verbalized by the art of improvisation, which is not only the fruit of chance, nor a trance effect, but rather a real conversation with its instrument and its space.

Inspired by the approach of the Ivorian writer Bernard Dadié in his novel « Climbié », improvisation is intended to deconstruct cultural assimilation and assert itself as a means of distinction; that is, an opportunity to tell unique stories.

Why a Piano festival in Kinshasa?

The idea arose from the observation that in the Congolese capital, there is a lack of stages and spaces for piano creation: most young Congolese pianists lack an ecosystem favorable to their practice, as well as motivation to professionalize.

They are thus forced to emigrate abroad or to embrace other instrumental practices. Hence the need to reverse this movement, by bringing in pianists from other countries to put them in dialogue with those from DRC: this is one of the major objectives of the festival.

The uniqueness of this festival focused on piano and pianists in DRC and in sub-Saharan Africa lies in three objectives which are: to put the piano instrument at the forefront of the Kinshasa scene, to integrate it into the public and hectic spaces of the capital and to work on the singularity of the Kinshasa space by setting up a socio-cultural reflection on the Congolese space.

During the festival, “Clinical Piano Workshops” are also planned, which are considered as an educational device for pianists, and which constitute a tool for strengthening technical capacities, intellectual and theoretical reflection providing an overview of the ecosystem local and global music.

The spaces chosen to host « Nganda pianos » during this edition are: Les Partenaires terrace on avenue 24 novembre and Luputa roundabout in Bandalungwa, it is reported. ACP/LON

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