Theatre

Benda Bilili!

A pre -release screening benefit showing for UK Disability History Month

An extraordinary documentary that follows the rise of Staff Benda Bilili, from the poverty stricken streets of Kinshasa to European acclaim, on the back of a debut album. The band of disabled Congolese musicians and street children, play conventional and improvised instruments. The group’s original core is made up of three middle aged polio surviving street dwellers, who sleep on cardboard boxes in the slums of the city, where they stay human by making music. Their star is Roger Landu, plucked off the streets when he was just 12. Roger, who is non-disabled, plays a curious self-invented instrument which consists of an empty tin, a curved piece of wood and a tightly stretched string, from which he extracts tuneful solos.

They perform songs- rooted in rumba, with elements of old school rhythm and blues-about the polio that impaired them and about life on the streets, and find Kinshasa Zoo to be the only quiet place in which they are able to rehearse. The film makers Renaud Barret and Florent de la Tullaye profile them over five years in situ and on a European Tour living in luxury. A moving, powerful film sharply contrasting North-South, which gives a strong message of the need to act collectively in our struggles with adversity-a beacon of hope.

The film will be followed by Q&A around issues raised and UK Disability History Month. UK Disability History Month runs from 22nd November to 22nd December 2010 and annually thereafter. It aims to celebrate disabled peoples’ achievements, challenge disablism and achieve equality for all disabled people. www.ukdisabilityhistorymonth.com

 

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