By Bob W. White

Mobutu Sese Seko, who governed Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) from 1965 till 1997, used to be keen on announcing “happy are those that sing and dance,” and his regime energetically promoted the suggestion of tradition as a countrywide source. in this interval Zairian renowned dance track (often known as la rumba zaïroise) turned a type of musica franca in lots of elements of sub-Saharan Africa. yet how did this privileged type of cultural expression, one essentially recognized for a valid of sweetness and pleasure, flourish below one of many continent’s such a lot brutal authoritarian regimes? In Rumba Rules, the 1st ethnography of well known tune within the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bob W. White examines not just the commercial and political stipulations that introduced this robust tune to its knees, but in addition the ways in which renowned musicians sought to stay socially appropriate in a time of accelerating insecurity.

Drawing partially on his reviews as a member of a neighborhood dance band within the country’s capital urban Kinshasa, White deals terribly bright money owed of the dwell tune scene, together with the rather contemporary phenomenon of libanga, which comprises shouting the names of rich or robust humans in the course of performances in trade for monetary help or safety. With dynamic descriptions of the way bands practiced, played, and splintered, White highlights how the ways in which strength was once sought and understood in Kinshasa’s renowned track scene reflected the charismatic authoritarianism of Mobutu’s rule. In Rumba Rules, Congolese communicate candidly approximately political management, social mobility, and what it intended to be a bon chef (good chief) in Mobutu’s Zaire.

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