Staff Benda Bilili

all rights reserved by Quinzaine des Réalisateurs

Staff Benda Bilili
un film de Florent de la Tullaye, Renaud Barret
Long métrage / France / 1h25 / Quinzaine 2010

Staff Benda Bilili blog
Ricky a un rêve : faire de Staff Benda Bilili le meilleur orchestre du Congo Kinshasa.

Roger, enfant des rues, désire plus que tout rejoindre ces stars du ghetto qui écument la ville sur des fauteuils roulants customisés façon Mad Max.

Ensemble, il leur faut déjouer les pièges de la rue, rester unis, trouver dans la musique la force d’espérer.

Pendant cinq ans, des premières répétitions à leur triomphe dans les festivals du monde entier, Benda Bilili !, en français «au delà des apparences», raconte ce rêve devenu réalité.

L’avis du comité de sélection:
“Dans un pays au bord du chaos, des gars de Kinshasa, musiciens d’un
orchestre de rue font du hors piste et mettent le feu au plancher dans une
énergie hors du commun. Un cocktail détonnant à base de rumba congolaise, blues, funk.
« La musique ouvre le ciel » (Baudelaire) : en effet, ça pulse très très haut, très très fort ! Un documentaire agité, de Florent de la Tullaye et Renaud Barret”
Staff Benda Bilili
a movie by Florent de la Tullaye, Renaud Barret
Long métrage / France / 1h25 / Quinzaine 2010

Staff Benda Bilili blog
Ricky had a dream: that the groupStaff Benda Bililiwill become the best orchestra of Congo Kinshasa.
As a kid living in the street, Roger wanted to be part of this group of Ghetto stars, running their customized wheelchairs around like MAD MAX…
Together they need to avoid the pitfalls of the street life, staying united and finding the strength of hope in their music…
Following the group for 5 years from the first rehearsals to the final success in the festivals all around the world: this movie tells the story of this dream becoming true…

Staff Benda Bilili at the Club Quinzaine from Quinzaine / Directors' Fortnight on Vimeo.

Staff Benda Bilili are like nothing you have ever seen or heard before. A group of paraplegic street musicians who live in and around the grounds of the zoo in Kinshasa, Congo, they make music of astonishing power and beauty. The band’s mesmerising rumba-rooted grooves, overlaid with vibrant vocals, remind you at times of Cuban nonchalance, at other times of the Godfather of Soul himself. You can hear echoes of old-school rhythm and blues, then reggae, then no-holds barred funk. Four senior singer/guitarists sitting on spectacularly customized tricycles, occasionally dancing on the floor of the stage, arms raised in joyful supplication, are the core of the band, backed by a younger, all-acoustic, rhythm section pounding out tight beats. Over the top of this are weird, infectious guitar-like solos performed by young Roger Landu, (an ex-street kid the band took under their wing), who plays a one-string electric lute he designed and built himself out of a tin can.

The lyrics of the Staff Benda Bilili are wise, ironical advice to the people who live in the streets. In Lingala, “Benda Billi” means “look beyond appearances”.
Staff Benda Bilili on myspace
Entitled “Très Très Fort” (‘Very Very Strong’… or ‘Very Very Loud’), their first album was produced by Vincent Kenis (already responsible for introducing and producing Konono N°1, Kasaï Allstars and the Congotronics series). The songs were recorded out in the open, mainly in the zoological garden near centre ville. The album is being released in Feb/March 2009.

The physical version of the album contains video bonuses directed by Belle Kinoise aka Florent de la Tullaye and Renaud Barret, who discovered the band while they were filming their “Jupiter’s Dance” documentary in Kinshasa. Florent and Renaud have been documenting the story of the band since 2004, and are working on a feature-length film devoted to the life of Staff Benda Bilili, from the sidewalks of Kinshasa to their (upcoming) first concerts in Europe.

See the concert pictures of my Pbase friend Michel Duval here

all rights reserved Michel Duval

copyright ©Michel Duval

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1 Response to Staff Benda Bilili

  1. Pingback: Staff Benda Bilili | Barbara Heide | Barbara Heide

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