Ballet & Ndombolo: Baloji’s Beautiful Kinshasa Dance

Congolese songwriter and producer Baloji took part of Fondation Cartier‘s “Congo Kitoko” exhibition last year.

For his contribution, Baloji reimagined the political themes of his single “Unité & Litre”—a sharp critique of the power and influence that cellphone companies and alcohol industries have on Congolese society—through dance.

Baloji called on dancer and choreographer Jolie Ngemi, who’d starred in the original music video for the single, to bring her hypnotizing, Kinshasa-crafted dances to the Parisian exhibit.

“This movie is an extension of the self-directed ‘Unité & Litre’ video that follows the Congolese dancer Jolie—a student at the P.A.R.T.S. dance school under Ann Keersmaeker—to several locations around Kinshasa, including some local artist working places,” Baloji writes to Okayafrica.

“Based on that need to visualize African art through a local perspective, not only a mercantile angle for the art-fair markets, we thought of filming Jolie in the ‘Congo Kitoko’ exhibition that happened at Fondation Cartier last winter. We deconstructed Jolie’s choreography, which is a combination of Ballet, Ndombolo (Congolese hip-centered dance), Azonto, Capoeira, and contemporary dances, to the sound of FINI’s remix.”

Accompanying the film is a brand new remix of Baloji’s “Spoiler” from Coely, which brings some “Fugees energy,” Baloji mentions, to the original. Check it out below.

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