“Joy in the Congo” seems an unlikely — even impossible — title for a story from the Congo, considering the searing poverty and brutal civil war that have decimated that country. Yet in Kinshasa, the capital city, we found an unforgettable symphony orchestra — 200 singers and instrumentalists defying the poverty, hardship, and struggles of life in the world’s poorest country…and creating some of the most moving music we have ever heard. Follow Bob Simon to the Congo to hear the sounds and stories of the Kimbanguist Symphony Orchestra.
Beauty has a way of turning up in places where you’d least expect it. We went to the Congo a few weeks ago, the poorest country in the world. Kinshasa, the capital, has a population of 10 million and almost nothing in the way of hope or peace. But there’s a well-kept secret down there. Kinshasa has a symphony orchestra, the only one in Central Africa, the only all-black one in the world.
It’s called the Kimbanguist Symphony Orchestra. We’d never heard of it. No one we called had ever heard of it. But when we got there we were surprised to find 200 musicians and vocalists, who’ve never played outside Kinshasa, or have been outside Kinshasa. We were even more surprised to find joy in the Congo. When we told the musicians they would be on 60 Minutes, they didn’t know what we were talking about but, still, they invited us to a performance.
We caught up with them as they were preparing outside their concert hall, a rented warehouse. As curtain time neared, we had no idea what to expect. But maestro Armand Diangienda seemed confident and began the evening with bang. – 60 Minutes, CBS News