Main Act: Fatoumata Diawara + Vorband
Congorama is a sonic inquiry and musical journey, which takes as its axis three places in the world called ‘Congo’. These three geographically distant locations contain a richness of resources, unparalleled musical and cultural wealth, as well as profound similarities due to transatlantic encounters stemming from their violent colonial pasts and its resonances in the present.
This transatlantic journey goes from the Congo River through the Caribbean basin to the US. The Congo River is the second longest river in Africa, flowing over 4,700 km. It zigzags from the continent’s heart through the Congolese rainforest straight to the Atlantic Ocean, holding many stories of kingdoms, chiefdoms, trade routes, migration, enslavement, colonialism, independence, cultural diversity, creativity, and resistance.
The journey leads to a remote floating village in the north of Venezuela, Congo Mirador, the place with the most lightning in the world. There are times when 120 lightning bolts flash across the sky every minute and the spirit of Afro Venezuelan drums beat with them. Further north, at Congo Square in New Orleans, there is an open space that was a meeting place to gather and to develop musical collaborations between enslaved and free people. It is a place of great historical weight for Afro-American history as a site of the arduous struggles for freedom of expression and of being by people of colour in the midst of a slave system. It was only in 2011 that this name was made official and the square was recognized as the birthplace of the cultural music of New Orleans, where African dance and drumming celebrations played a substantial role in the development of jazz.
Congorama acts as an umbrella for unfolding research, live music performances, DJ sets, a summer open-air series, listening sessions, workshops, lectures, and a music festival.
HKW audiences are invited to access traditional, ancestral knowledge, experience rhythm, music, and other sonic practices, and enjoy innovative experiences with a focus on the communal character of how sound connects diverse universes.