Joy in the Congo
CBS News, 60 Minutes
This ebullient 60 Minutes segment is an ode to joy in an African republic known mainly for its catastrophic civil war and entrenched poverty. It’s also an ode to ingenuity, perseverance and the power of music. At its center is Armand Diangienda, a Congolese man who taught himself to read music and play piano, trombone and cello while recruiting potential oboists and trumpeters with even less experience than he had. Now encompassing 200 musicians and singers, his Kinshasa-based Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste was founded with battered basses rescued from trash heaps and brass a half-step from the smelter. Diangienda tells correspondent Bob Simon how one enterprising member used brake wire from a bicycle to restring an old violin. We see ongoing evidence of that determination: Some orchestra members trek 90-minutes each way, six days a week, to the city to rehearse compositions by Orff and Beethoven. And we hear their music, thrilling to the heart as well as the ear. For celebrating the human spirit and a dialect of the universal language of music, a Peabody Award goes to Joy in the Congo.
PRIMARY PRODUCTION CREDITS
Executive Producer: Jeff Fager. Executive Editor: Bill Owens. Correspondent: Bob Simon. Producers: Clem Taylor, Magalie LaGuerre-Wilkinson. Editor: Warren Lustig.