© Bart Grietens © Bart Grietens © Bart Grietens © Bart Grietens © Bart Grietens © Bart Grietens © Ula Sickle, Kinshasa Electric at Festival de Marseille © Ula Sickle © Ula Sickle, Guest artist Lune in Paris 

© Ula Sickle, Guest artist Gnucci in Malmo © Ula Sickle, Guest artist Bepson de la Rue in Kinshasa

Kinshasa Electric

Text / Press / Video

Ula Sickle, Popol Amisi, Daniela Bershan, Jeannot Kumbonyeki & Joel Tenda

Performance 60 min (2014)

In this new creation for the 2014 edition of the Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Ula Sickle works again in close collaboration with performers from Kinshasa: this time a trio of dancers whom she has gotten to know over the past years – Joel Tenda, Popol Amisi and Jeannot Kumbonyeki. Together they explore the most popular dances of the moment, taking as a starting point the local stage – be it a concert stage or a nightclub dance floor – where dances get invented and reinvented.

They are joined by Israeli-German artist Daniela Bershan, aka. DJ Baba Electronica, with whom they create a new sound track especially for the performance, mixing international rhythms with local beats. In each city a local artist is invited for a guest appearance. Rather than focusing on the distance between Kinshasa and Brussels, or Africa and the rest of the world, the project focuses on the many connections and exchanges in both culture as well as commerce taking place within a globalized context.

Since 2014 many great guest artists have joined the Kinshasa Electric team onstage, including rapper Baloji (Brussels), singer Gnucci (Malmo), DJ Branco of Buraka Som Sistema (Porto), Saxaphonist Gavino Murgia (Sardinia), Beat boxer Black Adopo (Arras/Brussels), 6 piece band Nature Heaten (Dilbeek), singer/musician Lune (Paris), dancer Jolie Ngemi (Paris/Brussels), the inimitable musician Bepson de la Rue & MC Orakle (Kinshasa)... and many other talented guests!

Concept, stage direction Ula Sickle Creation, performance, style Popaul Amisi, Daniela Bershan, Jeannot Kumbonyeki Deba, Joel Makabi Tenda Music Concept & live sound Baba Electronica (Daniela Bershan) Scenography Ula Sickle & Daniela Bershan Light Design Ula Sickle & Gwen Laroche Techincal coordination Elke Verachtert Production Assistant Kinshasa Dada Kahindo (Platforme Contemporain/Enda Mbele Asbl) Dramaturgy Sebastien Hendrickx Excutive Production Caravan Production Co Production Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Brussels BE), KVS (Brussels BE), Noorderzon Performing Arts Festival (Groningen NL), NXTSTP with the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union, Spring Performing Arts Festival (Utrecht NL) With the support of the Flemish Authorities - International Projects, The Flemish Commission of the Brussels Capital Region

Premiere May 15th, 16th, 17th & 18th, 2014 - Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Brussels BE

see tour dates

Kinshasa is a constantly changing megalopolis in the heart of Africa, whose culture very much reflects globalization. Ula Sickle, a Canadian choreographer who lives in Brussels, plunged into the Congolese capital to create two solos pieces back in 2010 and 2012. She returned there for Kinshasa Electric, danced by three young Congolese - Joel Tenda, Popol Amisi and Jeannot Kunbonyeki - to a score by Daniela Bershan alias Baba Electronica. Rooted in the music and dance of Kin nightlife and in the full range of local variations on world pop culture, the show they have come up with is organic and energetic, a fascinating reflection of the sounds and movements of our times.

Gilles Bechet "Kinshasa Remade" - Agenda Magazine, May 2014

“Kinshasa Electric relies on a series of references […] which continuously branches off in the audience’s mind (and thus strongly differs depending on the context). Ultimately however it always “postpones” a fixed beginning or ending, a fixed origin or shape. What is traditional and what is contemporary? What is Congolese and what is Western? What is authentic and what has been construed? In Kinshasa Electric identity is “always on the move” and constantly undermines this type of opposition.”

“Identity has […] become a more flexible and more complicated concept. Because how can you find your own voice in a mediatised and post-national society, in which references travel faster than light? How to relate to all this cultural heritage, whose origin is sometimes lost? How can this cultural cross-pollination give rise to a more inclusive concept of identity and community, which is tailored to the twenty-first century?”

Charlotte de Somviele on Kinshasa Electric in “Ass Talk and Clubbing Vibes” - Etcetera Performing Arts Magazine, September 2014