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Crimes of Rumba—Volume I Congo Music

Crimes of Rumba is the hottest, epic combination of business, politics, music, and of course, crimes behind the predatory conduct culture that has glamorized the worst corporate malpractice in US cultural history. As a matter of law, order, and economy, the state administration’s intolerance and crackdown on musicians’ dissent and opposition to the colonial music cash crops’ production is authoritarianism at best and without precedent in the world’s history of colonization and music.

 

Prior to Henri Bowane’s recruitment of most of the foreign editors in the Belgian Congo, Congo music was a major player and broker. Even prior to the Royal Decree of 1925, which was designed for the protectionism of Congo’s arts and artifacts against any foreign influence, Congo music has earned its stripes of excellence through the cultural exchanges between the Kingdom of Kongo, Portugal and the Vatican as of the late fifteenth century. And as of the sixteenth century through slavery, Congo music would gain a great reputation for being a great combination of religious and secular music in the Congo’s diaspora.

And even more importantly was its reputation for being even greater music around the world through multiple Western ethnomusicological expeditions always eager to navigate the Congo’s ethnicity, religion, music and spirituality. Its modernity was already established under the Royal Decree of 1925, as governor-general Pierre Ryckmans enacted the protectionism of Congo music by sponsoring the “Premier Festival Africain”, in 1936, through the separation of folkloric groups from the youth’s dancehall music of Antoine Wendo Kolosoy, the main attraction…

As a matter of fact, it is important to underscore that the very high burden to tell the truth about the essence of Fonior’s universal corporate malpractice should never be swayed by its economic bottom line or political emotions. It should be laws- and evidence-based study, which should never struggle to fully expose its criminal profile, stemming from the colonial state’s legislative fix, meticulous planning, huge investment, and repressive harvest of its classified South American music crops in the colony. And most of all, this evidence-based study must be anchored on the Belgian Congo’s laws, policies, and actions throughout colonialism and universal entertainment laws of copyrights and the Berne Convention related to the protection of artistic works around the globe…

Unfortunately, so far the one-sided rhetoric about Congo Latino, Congo Rumba, and Rumba Lingala has been wrongfully directed on Fonior’s fake-outs to market Congolese musical by-products without divulging its very nature of scam and fraud, which was solely intended to shield away the legislative fix for the addition of music crops in the colony in order to best position them outside the colonial administration’s politics and economics, far from its process and purpose…

Undeniably, the Catholic Church’s great power in the cultural, economic, educational, linguistic, and political affairs of the colony, especially on Congo music, should never be underestimated in the politics and economics of the Congo. It would be certainly a great heresy to insinuate that the Catholic Church did easily surrender or waive its cultural jurisdiction to King Leopold’s private companies and the colonial administration for the industrialization of Congo music in the late 1950s. It took Alain Buisseret, the Liberal Party’ minister of colonies’s proposal to cut off the Catholic Church’s subsidies, to somehow convince the church to reluctantly sign up with the colonial state’s urgency to collect more taxes from its new investments on Congo music and its international industrialization around the globe…

Thus, Fonior’s willful purpose to fuzz the lines between Congolese musicians’ compliance with the colonial law and King Leopold’s international conglomerate’s economics of South American music crops has maliciously turned its genesis into a cryptic state of fake Congolese musicians’ mindset. This crypticity has left raw novices of Congo music baffled by Congolese musicians’ motives, if any, for the colonial music cash crops because they can’t filter out King Leopold’s international conglomerate’s economic noise to suppress the true legacy of the mandatory South American music cash crops in the Belgian Congo and to replace them by the fake allegations of “Cuban music’s influence on Congolese modern music”…

Without Congolese musicians’ truth and testimonies, it is evidently important to underscore that inhibiting Congo music’s exceptionalism and authenticity under the circumstantial presence of forced music cash crops of the last three years and a half before independence has set the bar of truth below Fonior’s fabrication. That is why Volume I of Congo Music: Crimes of Rumba resets the bar of this public debate to its highest level of laws in order to critically review and study Congolese musicians’ musical plight and works based on universal entertainment laws, treaties, copyrights, and Congo’s facts, policies, and evidences from the colonial and post-colonial era…

“It takes knowledge of the Belgian Congo’s history, in its restrictive paternalism and colonialism in order to fully know the extent of its violence on Congo music and its musicians during the colonial and post-colonial era. Congo music’s history is more than a compilation of recording studios and bands’ names, but the history of Belgian colonialism in many facets and policies on Congo music and its musicians. What purpose would you fulfill to simply enumerate the names of Congolese musicians in different recording studios and bands in the colonial era without investigating how they have worked under the worst violence ever and robbed of their royalties to die poor and broke? The facts and evidences of the colonial state under Flemish administration for Congo music contradict the Walloons’ administration of the late 1950s to the point of obstruction of justice and truth for one to accredit Congo Rumba or Rumba Lingala,” Franco Luambo, union of Congolese musicians’ president, said.

As Governor-General Pierre Ryckmans started up the great era of the colonial building of the exceptional economic and social programs for the colony, his economic recovery programs had also favored the best artistic exchanges between the colony and Belgium. His numerous cultural achievements for the protection of Congo music and artifacts’ exceptionalism and authenticity against any foreign influence are second to none in the history of the Belgian Congo. As he departed to Belgium as World War II’s hero, his cultural legacy would endure throughout Eugene Jungers’s administration until January 1952.

La Territoriale’s legacy, policies, and actions within the Congo are the most suppressed evidences in the narrative of fake theories and news of rumba. In fact, the colonial state and La Territoriale are the sole impartial and reliable sources in the history of Congo music because their policies are officially known, written, and verifiable.

“The absolute naiveté of rumba’s fake news and theories displays total ignorance of the very controlling Belgian paternalism and colonialism in its policies toward foreigners and Congolese people in the colony. Under La Territoriale, there has never been room for second guessing the colonial state’s policies and actions. Brandishing the fallacy of Congolese musicians in fake cosmopolitanism and obsession for Cuban music’s influence outside La Territoriale simply demeans Belgian paternalism in the Congo. Nothing could be further from the truth,” Roitelet Muniania insisted….

However, this best calibrated sham made in Belgium by Fonior can’t stand the test of La Territoriale and the colonial state, as the dominant partner in Macodis in the Congo, and most of all, the scrutiny of universal copyright laws, which protected all Congolese music productions of the late 1950s by the colonial institutions in the Congo.

“Writers of rumba play dirty with their smear tactics against Congo music and its musicians based on their ignorance of the Belgian Congo’s laws with respect to Congo music throughout colonialism. They have slandered Congolese musicians over decades in a coordinated effort afoot to appease the colonial state and Fonior’s forced labor in the harvest of mandatory music crops and the fabrication of rumba. They have become the worst obstructionist opposition to resurrect Fonior’s fraud in order to cover up its complicity in the colonial violence against Congolese musicians. And not to know that rumba or Rumba Lingala is the story of obstruction, opposition, oppression, corruption, and untruth is mind-boggling decades after the case has been settled once for all,” Tabu Ley Rochereau concluded.

The white establishment, which was not composed of Belgians, was valued in the colony’s hierarchy according to its employment and inputs to the colonial state’s direct work of colonization. Those serving the colonial administration through the Force Publique to maintain law and order for the purpose of directly advancing colonialism and its implementation through the Colonial Charter were privileged over small businesses and employees in private sector such as Greeks, Jews, Portuguese, Chinese, and others. Discrimination among whites in the colonial state was rampant and pervasive until the late 1940s. In order to create a monolithic bloc against the natives, the white establishment in the Congo would unite in Ucol, Union of Colonizers, in order to lobby the Belgian government and quest for the same privilege given to Belgian nationals in the Congo, “their new motherland”…

Interestingly, Léopoldville’s embrace of all ethnic music of the Congo by Congolese musicians for the Congolese people, as their ultimate consumers, has preceded any colonial policies to exploit Congo music, as the best-selling African musical commodity for export. Thus, this explains Antoine Wendo Kolosoy’s rise to stardom in Leo, in 1936, while Manuel D’Oliveira made himself a name in Matadi, in 1937, for his people without any colonial state’s meddling in the promotion of their music. Besides, Antoine Wendo Kolosoy’s national recognition would be celebrated, in Léopoldville, as he headlined the First National Music Festival, in 1938, before Governor-General Pierre Ryckmans in the implementation of Copami’s agenda in the Congo…

Not only Antoine Wendo Kolosoy was the biggest star in Léopoldville, he developed personal ties with Governor Ryckmans. The latest called upon him any time the colonial state needed to launch any new cultural or musical program in the colony.

“Governor Ryckmans knew me personally. He called on me to launch Radio Congolia in 1939. Jungers, his successor, called upon me first for Sodebi’s agenda. Fonior’s Congo Rumba is a shameful attempt to distort Pierre Ryckmans’ legacy of Congo music’s history and protectionism abroad. This misinformation has no historical or factual value. I wrote the dancehall version of Congo music’s playbook in 1936 with my ethnic Bateke music in Leopoldville. That’s my legacy to Congo music. I was coerced once by Esengo to play chachacha. I reluctantly did it. I felt like that I have betrayed the best of myself. I have always embodied Congo music’s exceptionalism and authenticity throughout my musical career,” recalled Antoine Wendo Kolosoy.

“Indeed, PSC-CVP’s political victory over the Liberal Party reflected the long-standing in the Belgian ethnic divide with regard to Congo music’s exceptionalism and authenticity’s support and protectionism. While the Liberal Party disapproved the addition of foreign music in the colony, the fringe in the PSC-CVP’s coalition and King Leopold’s private companies advocated and lived for it. This was the political and economic war for the future destiny and control of Congo music through the biggest financial investment ever made by the colonial state and its coalition in the Congo’s culture in the Congo, Africa, Europe, and in the Americas. One has to be brain dead to believe that the colonial state’s “South American music crops” was an act of God or introduced by small Greek merchants through the sale of vinyl records…It was enacted into law under Belgian parliamentary majority’s rule and colonial state’s laws,” Grand Kallé specified.

“Contrary to the fake news, movies and books of rumba, the presence of all foreign music harvested in the Belgian Congo, from 1956 to independence, was not by sheer fluke or Congolese musicians’ cosmopolitanism of any specific genre within the African Retro and 360 Series of the Congolese re-editions. But it was achieved by scientific engineering, methodical planning and coercive implementation by the colonial administration for its economic, financial and political coalition in Belgium, France, Holland, and in the Americas against Congo music’s protectionism. Logically speaking, on what grounds would you attribute such known Belgian engineering of music crops on its victims, Congolese musicians, in the Congo under the colonial state’s autocratic policies? This is not a fake theory, but the historical facts of Belgium and the Congo in the early 1950s,” Roitelet Muniania said…

“Territorial administrator Duvivier turned red like a cooked shrimp. He was almost breathing fire to stress the importance of his colonial ordinance for compliance. He threatened to throw us all in jail if we don’t comply with his verdict of contractual obligation with respect to the mandatory South American music crops to harvest instantly. As a seventeen years boy among all those adults, I was scared to death. Duvivier was so nefarious and brutal that I felt that I would wet my pants. Should I run away to Matadi or maybe in Boma for awhile to escape his wrath or this entire ordeal? That would have crushed my mom’s heart. For mom’s sake I decided to stay put and weather the storm. I was very scared even in my own bed that night. I couldn’t sleep,” Franco Luambo recalled.

“…How can you explain Esengo and Rock’a Mambo’s existence without Duvivier’s repression? The all-embracing La Territoriale covered the inhumane activity and coercion that we had to abide by in order to survive and make a living as a musician in the Belgian Congo. Regardless of the colonial state’s ironfisted tactics to impose music crops, it has never registered or copyrighted any musical genre or trademark of the Congo called Congo Rumba or Rumba Lingala,” Roitelet Muniania Augustin, Samuco’s president, stated…

In fact, call it Palo or Regla del Congo said allegiance of the Congo’s diaspora to the Congo, its spirituality, religion, and music can’t be rumba or reggae for the Congo, but Kumina and Nzambi-a-Mpungu. Even though, they are both the by-products of Congo music and religion, Cuban and Jamaican ingenuity in the creation of said music reflects genuine obedience to their Congo’s roots and spirituality. In the same vein that merengue from Dominican Republic, mering from Haiti, or maringa of the Congo have never represented the sum of Congo music, it must be always underscored that Congo music transcends each one of the 450 ethnic groups of the Congo. Nothing could be further from the truth than any attempt to impose a single copyrighted musical genre of the Congo’s diaspora on the musical work from the Congo…

“In Cuba, the Congo’s cabildo was the first open house religious celebration of Rumbo de Congo, Route of Congo, to showcase Congolese diaspora’s sense of belonging to the Congo for generations to come. The spiritual and esoteric route was a great show of power from Regla Congo, also known as Regla de Palo, with his Ngangeros, its practitioners in the cabildos in the streets of Cuba. The long overdue celebration of Regla Congo or Kimpasi in the streets of Matanzas, Las Villas, Havanas, and Santiago de Cuba through yuka spiritual songs, dances, and rhythms of Congo music opened the doors for the creation of future munanso, Congolese temples, in Cuba. But, for the practitioners, it became a golden opportunity to stop hiding Congolese divinities and invoke them in weekly ceremonials throughout the cities on Sundays…Rumba represented the body, mind, and soul of the Congo’s diapora in its pride of the Congo’s spirituality and in its belief that it would never be spiritually enslaved as long as its mind and spirit remain connected to the awesome power of God and its ancestors…”

First, when Congolese musicians invoke and sing Nzambi Mpungu (God) or mention nganga (priest, healer), ndoki (sorcerer), mambu (issues), nkoko (ancestors), kisimbi (spirit), and mpungu (charms) in their maringa, odemba, kebo, zebola songs, and other genres of ethnic music of the Congo, these words come alive in the Congo’s diaspora in its religious and daily practices and celebrations in the Las Reglas de Congo in Cuba, in Kumina in Jamaica, in Congo del Espiritu in Dominican Republic, in Kongo temples in Haiti and throughout the Congo’s diaspora. They create the best sense of spiritual entitlement and belonging to their perennial Congo, as the motherland of spirituality and purity of Congo music’s exceptionalism and authenticity…This is where resides the essence of “flying back” in spirituality in the Congo throughout the Congo’s diaspora. Certainly, it is a Congo thing that only the Congomen understand….

For the main reason of setting the records straight, Volumes I and II of Congo Music: Crimes of Rumba and Demise of Rumba will be answering questions concerning the factual and evidential proofs of Congo music from Congolese musicians and the Belgian Congo’s laws and points of view, which obliterate Fonior’s fake-outs, theories and propaganda of rumba. But most of all, in order to make the case against Congo Rumba and Rumba Lingala’s fraud, these volumes will be asking many questions whose answers contradict all fake news and theories of the last four decades based on the colonial state’s evidences and Congolese musicians’ testimonies.

“…As such, Fonior’s fake-outs are the worst fraud ever that has never revealed the mass-autocracy, horror, hatred, and evil behind the cultivation and mandatory harvest of music cash crops in the Belgian Congo. Where rumba activists on Fonior’s payroll wrongfully and maliciously see Cuban music’s presence, the evidence of compliance in rebellion in Congolese re-editions underlines the autocratic diversity of South American music cash crops which were never economically engineered by Société Générale to create any “Congolese modern music”, but wealth in the Americas,” Franco Luambo concluded.

 

Belgian infightings with respect to Congo music’s protectionism in the early 1950s must be pressed on and thoroughly reviewed in order to better study the discrepancy between the major Belgian political parties’ point of view with regard to the exploitation and industrialization of Congo music in the Congo in the late 1950s. This critical review is mandatory to establish the fact that, for connoisseurs in the Belgium and the Congo’s colonial history, Fonior’s fake-outs have no shred of credibility that would impact Congo music’s exceptionalism and authenticity then as now. And most of all, it brings front and center the principal question whether Congolese musicians have or should to ever answer about the Belgian engineering of mandatory music cash crops.

“By all accounts, one can’t study the true history of Congo music in the late 1950s outside the PSC and Liberal Party’s political infightings in Belgium and the colonial state’s policies and actions in the Congo, which were the mere subsequent corollary of said infightings. The Belgian political rivalry with regard to the exploitation and industrialization of Congo music provide the utmost immediate rejection of Congo Rumba and Rumba Lingala, as we all know as an outright lie, fraud, and distortion of the Congo’s history and its music. The Belgian political rivalry has negatively impacted the Belgian Congo’s politics, economics, as well as its post-colonial future to the point that the Congo today is entangled in Mobutu’s web of demagoguery and so shall it be for his successors for decades to come. Only history would tell it better then as now,” Grand Kallé insisted….

“The hate for the coercion of compulsory music crops had reached past the boiling point in OK Jazz. Not only, the colonial state’s forced labor’s stupidity consisted in coercing us to write songs in Spanish, but in writing songs that would not sell in the Congo. It was like planting your best seed or time on the sand. Franco and I had signed up an equal partnership contract for the loan for the brand-new musical equipment for OK Jazz. I was basically the guarantor of the loan that I contracted with Bill Alexandre, my former boss at Cefa, in Belgium. It was my credibility and neck on the line. That loan had to be paid back from the proceeds of our concerts and musical productions’ sales in Loningisa. Papadimitriou’s injunction of compulsory music crops destroyed the morale in the band and limited our capacity to quickly produce our exclusive and authentic Congo music. We all hated this with a passion. Guys became miserable and couldn’t take it anymore. They decided to join the “land of the free” in Rock’a Mambo,” Vicky Longomba revealed.

Fonior’s obvious fraud is self-evident because in the country of the first publication, the Congo, the colonial state’s official policy and law of the land was centered on the protectionism of Congo music’s exceptionalism and authenticity, under the Royal Decree of 1925. This was the era of the famous Copami’s agenda in action and full force under the Flemings’ administrations. This is historically provable and wrong, at its best, under La Territoriale, the supreme law of the land then. And of course, this is also self-evident because the Congo and its musicians have been united in one national voice to denounce Fonior and its fraud in the most epic battle, which was finally settled more than four decades ago…

“We, Congolese musicians, produced our copyrighted musical works in the Congo as required under the colonial state’s laws and institutions. Under la Territoriale, refusing to harvest South American music cash crops was a felony. It was the law and you could be thrown in jail. Under the colonial state’s contract granted to Fonior, this corporation was not given any authorship’s rights from our published works…Fonior had to reproduce Congolese musical works, as published in the Congo, the country of origin, with legitimacy of all information that Roitelet and I have recorded and copyrighted, as Sabam’s officials, in the Congo for our peers and ourselves. Therefore, Fonior was never granted any single right to create, modify, mutilate or change anything from what was written on Congolese musical works by its own branch, Macodis, in the Congo…The reproduction right to distribute Congolese musical works outside the Congo did not entitle Fonior with any right to create any fake-out. By doing so, Fonior violated the spirit and the letter of the contract and Belgian Congo’s laws, and engaged in another spree of violence against the legitimate interests of Congolese musicians and their copyrights. That’s something I couldn’t ever patronize,” Grand Kallé rejected.

This legal truth and material facts-checking’s operation is the blunt, exclusive disclosure of the sources and methods used for the cultivation and autocratic harvest of music cash crops in the Belgian Congo, which were economically engineered from and back to America for its consumption through misinformation, disinformation, deceit, and fraud. Not only is this the tale of the utmost scam that has been very fully funded to defraud the world’s collective memory of rumba, it is the hefty price that our humanity has dearly paid for without consent for Fonior’s crimes of rumba for decades.

A lot of readers will discover Thierry Antha with the publication of Crimes of Rumba, Volume I of Congo Music. But this international journalist carried decades of excellence in covering the Congo and Haiti’s politics, business, and entertainment. His professional and personal ties with all the most famous Congolese musicians in advocacy, promotion, and production of their musical works have crowned him the best authority with respect to the Congo music’s history. Contrary to all the spinning, posturing, and work of fiction for rumba, Thierry Antha’s expertise and dedication to exposing the truth behind material facts and laws related to Congo music from the Belgian Congo to the Congo is second to none.

 

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COMING SOON DEMISE OF RUMBA, VOLUME II OF CONGO MUSIC.