Join in Faustin Linyekula’s procession, follow the brass band and ‘sapeurs’ (Congolese ‘people with style’), and pass by various venues in Amsterdam’s Zuidoost district. This parade of stories from Amsterdam and the Democratic Republic of Congo is about listening and being heard, amidst the noise of the streets, vehicles, passers-by and life. Parlement debout is an moving open-air performance, inspired by ‘les parlementaires debout’, men who hang about at kiosks and taxis in Congo, commenting on the news, speaking their minds in the public square, and disrupting the political order. Linyekula, together with Yves Mwamba and Dinozord, is directing a similarly disruptive parade of unknown, sometimes incredible stories that seldomly make it into newspapers here.
Parlement Debout was originally created in 2007 by Papy Ebotani, associate artist at Linyekula’s Studios Kabako. The title of the performance, which is essentially about freedom of speech, refers to
the men who gather on street corners, in front of newsstands, taxi ranks or street stalls in Kisangani (Democratic Republic of the Congo) to read the newspapers out loud and comment on world events. They debate about life, the future, society; they claim the freedom to say what they want to say. Since then, the papers have disappeared from newsstands, and they no longer serve as meeting places where people exchange news. A new generation has its own means of communication and places to hang out – including online places.
Especially for the Holland Festival, Linyekula worked with dancer and choreographer Yves Mwamba to develop a new version of Parlement Debout to be performed in South-East Amsterdam. Once again a procession will move through the streets of the neighbourhood, but this time it will be watched – and joined – by residents of South-East Amsterdam. Linyekula and Mwamba are going in search of these residents’ stories, and will work with them to stage a journey past all their hidden places and forgotten dreams – dreams and stories that echo those in Kisangani.
Faustin Linyekula (Congo, 1974) is a Congolese dancer, choreographer, theatre maker and storyteller. In his work he addresses the legacy of decades of war, terror, fear and the collapse of the economy in Africa.
After studying literature and drama Linyekula left Congo in 1993, at the time still called Zaïre, and settled in Nairobi, Kenya. There, he cofounded the first Kenyan company for contemporary dance, Gàara, in 1997. In 2001 he returned to Zaïre, by now the Democratic Republic of Congo. In spite of the bloody conflict ravaging the country, he decided to stay and founded in Kinshasa the Studios Kabako, a creation and research space for performing art.
Together with four dancers who were trained by him, he created Spectacularly Empty, an account of his return to his native country. It was the first in a series of works in which Linyekula reflected on the history and the collective memory of his country and its people, the corruption of its leaders, their censorship and their lack of vision for the future. Two of these pieces, Le Festival des Mensonges (2005) and The Dialogues Series: iii. Dinozord (2006), were invited to the Festival d'Avignon in 2007, the first time such an invitation was extended to a Sub-Saharan African artist. In 2012, he made a sequel, Sur les traces de Dinozord, which will be shown at the Holland Festival this year with a brand new cast of young talents.
In 2006, the Studios Kabako moved to Kisangani in the North-East of the country and opened up to new artistic fields, including music and film. Alongside, indeed, fostering the work of younger Congolese artists, from training to production and touring, the Studios Kabako are also working with communities of the Lubunga district on the South Bank of the Congo river, around culture, education and drinking water issue. In total, Linyekula created 17 pieces with his Studios Kabako, which toured around the world, including more more more… future, a punk/ndombolo opera. Other collaborations include a duet with Raimund Hoghe (Sans-titre, 2009), a solo for the National Ballet of Portugal (2016) and a series of in-situ performances for museums, including the MOMA in 2012, the MUCEM in Marseille in 2016, the NYC Metropolitan Museum in 2017 and in 2018 the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren. Passionate about sound, Linyekula is also mixing music for albums and live concerts.
Linyekula received the Principal Prince Claus Award in 2007. The jury praised him ‘for his innovative activation of culture in the face of conflict, and for his energetic commitment to the development of his community.’ He came to the Holland Festival in 2012 with La creationdu monde (1923-2012), a creation for the Ballet de Lorraine based in Nancy. In 2017 The New York Times wrote: ‘There’s no walking away from Mr. Linyekula ... painful, brutal, livewire intensity.’ In 2014, he and his Studios Kabako were awarded first prize by the CurryStone Foundation for their work in Kisangani. He regularly teaches in Africa, the United States and Europe. The full year of 2016, Linyekula was associate artist to the city of Lisbon as part of the Artista na Cidade Biennale.
Since September 2018 and for three years, he is associate artist to the Manège in Reims.
In 2018, he was recipient of the first Soros Arts Fellowship. Faustin Linyekula is one of the Holland Festival’s two associate artists this year.
Yves Mwamba began his career in dance with the local group Keep Quiet. In 2008 he joined Faustin Linyekula’s Studios Kabako, where he attended workshops with artists such as Hafiz Dhaou, Dinozord, Papy Ebotani, Andréya Ouamba, Boyzie Cekwana, Sylvain Prunenec and Clara Bauer. The first piece he choreographed himself, the solo performance Juste moi, featured at the Connexion Kin festival in Kinshasa in 2012. In 2013 he was a part of Linyekula’s Drums and Digging, which took them all over Europe (France, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Croatia) and is currently touring in Sur les traces de Dinozord (also to be seen at the Holland Festival). In 2015 and 2016 he danced in Debout, a piece by Djino Alolo Sabin and Christina Towles that was performed in a number of different cities, including Paris and Roubaix. Yves Mwamba lives and works in Paris, where he dances and teaches.
- Faustin Linyekula
- perfomed by
- Faustin Linyekula, Yves Mwamba, Dinozord, Larry Appiah, Dyanne Denneboom, Vincent Henar, Yves Mwambe, Leeroy Molly, Ritzah Stasia
- head styling
- Richard Soesanna
- styling headwrapping
- Miss Yaa (Carmen Medar)
- in association with
- RightAboutNow Inc, Marian Duff (OSCAM)