On the 22ndof May, 2018, in the family home of the N’Sondé’s, located in a charming neighborhood of Brazzaville, we opened the world premier of ‘Congo Tales’.
It was a warm afternoon and everybody gathered under the shade of the large mango tree located in the family houses garden. Charming woven colored mats were spread over the floor, with small seats and tables, traditionally woven out of vines spread out throughout the garden offering seating for the curious exhibition visitors.
The red, green and yellow string of lights, lit up the pictures that hung over and across the four walls enclosing the garden.
As the space filled with visitors, collaborators and friends the celebration of the projects conclusion manifested. The visitors, included a diverse group of friends and collaborators of the project, cultural ‘agents’ of Congo as well as interested journalists.
The night was opened by Steve Regis N’Sondé, researcher and writer for the project, who warmly welcomed everyone to his family home. This home had been a place for cultural expression 50 years earlier under the careful watch of his father and Steve Regis was happy to continue the tradition. Following his speech Eva Vonk, co Executive producer of the project said her thank you’s in the local language; Lingala, which was received with great enthusiasm.
When Auguste Miabeto took the microphone the crowd went silent and listened carefully to his heartwarming speech. Meabeto; a renowned Congolese scholar and expert on Congolese oral culture, shared a beautiful tale and opened the night with a fitting analogy; the wisdom of the elders is like a braid, interlaced with the strength of the youth that keeps carrying on the culture of the people
After this moment of reflection, food was served and the music began! Elie Liberat N’tondole, led the nights program, beginning with amazing singers led by traditional Sanzulas. Under the light of the softly lit mango tree, the guests enjoyed their plantain bananas, manioc, saka sake and salted fish. As the evening developed the music’s tempo increased and the tam tam players mesmerized everyone with their rhythm.
It was truly a commemoration of Congolese tradition, the stories, the music, its food and its people and we were extremely honored and humbled to have been a part of it.
We would like to thank the artists and musicians who made all the magic possible: Elie Liberat N’tondele, Blaise Mbemba, Olivier Nkodia, Belga Banzouzi, Rufin Koubemba, Gael Loubayi, Junior Koubemba, Divin Mboukadia, Vacilia Milandou, Philgorine Ngafini, Odette Ghaba, Argea Kimbembe