Music Beyond: Developing Congo's first all-female chamber ensemble

To be surrounded by some of the richest mineral reserves in the world, yet be so poor; to face ongoing conflict, corruption, and uncertainty; is to feel subhuman, less than. A group of Congolese women are tapping into the simple joy of music to show their community they matter.

The Problem

To be a woman in DR Congo is to never stop thinking that one of you will be raped every 47 minutes. In addition, severe poverty and persistent war, maintained by extreme corruption and a deprivation of educational resources, ensures that the majority of Congolese women grow up believing that the power to change their circumstances is beyond their reach. Society as they know it is a daily barrage of personal devaluation. But a group of 13 women have joined forces and do everything they can to stay hopeful and help their community thrive. They are members of the self-taught Kimbanguist Symphony Orchestra in Kinshasa and they recently formed a women’s only ensemble that has been tearing through stereotypes and profoundly changing their community from day one. Unfortunately, the lack of basic necessities, including quality instruments and teaching staff has stymied their progress and reach.

The Solution

Music Beyond provides individual professional-level musical training (to beginning through advanced players) and the shared experience of collective music-making - an activity known for building resilience and encouraging expression. Women in the ensemble are reporting how music has deeply humanized them. They feel connected to the world like never before and are carrying this forward into healing their communities. Music Beyond would like to work with them more frequently and in-depth. The sky is the limit on how far the women’s drive will take them. Proper instruments and more hands-on training will allow the program to expand and provide more opportunity for the women to showcase their program across Congo and even internationally (there has been much interest but funding has prohibited most travel and additional concert planning).

Stage of Development

  • Early Stage
  • Established Prototype
  • Scaling
  • Other

Organization to Receive Funds

Music Beyond, Inc.

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