Muisi-kongo Malonga – Oakland, CA Solo Performance
Muisi-kongo Malonga is a talented dancer, choreographer and instructor deeply rooted in the traditions of Central Africa. As one of the next generation’s foremost keepers of Congolese cultural arts forms, she has passionately sought to preserve Congolese culture through her leadership of Fua Dia Congo, a 35-year old performing arts organization. Her writing, singing, original compositions and choreography have all converged in the telling of the tale of Kimpa Vita, a 17th century Kongolese prophet and martyr. “Kimpa Vita!”, Malonga’s first solo work, is described as a chore-opera, where music and movement merge to convey the powerful story of a woman often described as the Kongolese Joan of Arc.
NOV 7-16, FRI-SAT at 8PM, SUN at 7PM
“Kimpa Vita was a prophet and spiritual leader born circa 1684 in the Kongo Kingdom, near Mount Kibangu. Her celebrated gift of prophecy, later served as the basis for her brutal and untimely demise. Kimpa Vita, refused to renounce her visions that were filled with a message of spiritual and political resistance for Kongolese people, and at age 22, she was brutally burned at the stake with her infant child.
Mama Kimpa Vita’s epic tale is one that Muisi-kongo Malonga heard from childhood. And always, it conjured up images of strength, spirituality, rebellion and African womanhood. Somehow, this powerful story provided much needed historical context, for the great cultural legacy from which she descends as a woman of Kongolese and African American origin.
Kimpa Vita! A Solo ChoreOpera is a music, dance and theater narrative told through the dual lens of Congolese and African American cultural arts traditions. As a seasoned performer, choreographer and instructor of traditional Congolese music and dance and a staunch torchbearer of a matrilineal legacy rooted in the gospel traditions of the African American church, this work is an expression of the duality of Malonga’s heritage. At the heart of Kimpa Vita! are dance, movement, poetry and theater elements set to a musical score that layers the wailing cadence of African American spirituals with the textured harmonies of traditional Congolese song, and percussion.
Kimpa Vita! A Solo ChoreOpera gives way to a high caliber of artistic collaborations from African American and Congolese arts traditions, and is deeply enriched by the rare opportunity in depth historical research. Through this work, Muisi-kongo seeks to channel, give voice and most importantly pay homage and to the powerful legacy of Mama Kimpa Vita and to legacies of all those ancestors upon whose shoulders she stands.