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Rumba on the River: A History of the Popular Music of the Two Congos Paperback – November 17, 2003

4.9 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“The first really comprehensive account of the development of an African pop style.”—Times Literary Supplement

“The most comprehensive account written in English of the rich history of music from the Belgian Congo, Zaire, DR Congo, French Congo or simply Congo”—Charlie Gillet

“For fans and scholars alike, it is a godsend to have so much history packed into a single volume.”—Boston Phoenix

“A fascinating and tantalizing celebration”—Herald

“[Stewart’s] love and understanding of Congolese music is strikingly evident throughout his book. Few can match his encyclopedic knowledge.”—International Journal of African Historical Studies.

“[A]n enthralling dissemination of how changing times and ancient traditions blended to create a distinctive type of music along the Congo River.”—Wisconsin Bookwatch

“[Stewart] details the evolution of both the music and politics of the area and his accessible writing makes Rumba an important addition to the bookshelf of serious students of Afropop, African history, and popular music in general. The book is rigorously researched and dense with facts, which Stewart lays out in a readable style.”—Seattle Weekly

“[Stewart] has a way of describing a song that makes you want to stop reading and immediately cue up a forgotten track.”—Bob Tarte, The Beat

“Stewart pinpoints key elements in the music’s history, while neatly summarising broader historical events as a preamble to the genesis and growth of a onetime contender for the title of the world’s best dance music.”—Richard Henderson, The Wire

“[S]uperbly presented and eloquently written ... extensively researched.”—Martin Sinnock, Songlines

“Attention all sapeurs and devotees de la musique soukous or rumba rock. Here comes a handsome 400 page tome that celebrates the music of the Congo, from both banks of the river ... Gary Stewart is a deeply knowledgeable and passionate narrator.”—Straight No Chaser

"[A] gem...an encyclopaedic portrait of the flowering of Congolese music in Brazzaville and Kinshasa — or Léopoldville, as it was originally known...Stewart’s story is not just about music. It is also a depiction of the debilitating social, economic and political environment that is the canvas for this portrait." —Standard Media

About the Author

Gary Stewart is a writer who has lived and worked in Africa. His articles on African and Caribbean music have appeared in numerous publications including The Beat, Option, and West Africa. He is the author of Breakout: Profiles in African Rhythm and Rumba on the River: A History of the Popular Music of the Two Congos—for more information on the latter, visit <a href="http://rumbaontheriver.com/">rumbaontheriver.com</a>.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Verso (January 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1859843689
  • ISBN-13: 978-1859843680
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,592,054 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Gary Stewart's book is so very well researched. If you are not familiar with the Congolese Rumba, the material will not really interest you and be difficult if not impossible to read. If you are familiar with this remarkable music in any way, you will end up seeking out and acquiring as much of this music and record titles as you can afford. I must have bought about 150 CD titles of the artists mentioned in the book.Stewart's book puts these artists and their music in the context of a history previously unwritten about in the English language. The only other book that comes to mind is Graeme Ewens' "Congo Colossus", but that title is more confined to the history of Franco (Francois Luambo Makiadi) and Le T.P. OK Jazz.If there is a criticism, it is a small one. He leaves out Orchestra Super Mazemba and Samba Mapangala. Although those artists made their mark in Kenya, they were in fact major Rumba artists from the Congo. However, Mr. Stewart performed remarkable research not to mention a history book that moves like an impossible to put down novel.
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Format: Paperback
Chapters explore music, dance, and evolving trends in Congolese rumba tradition and provide so much accompanying explanatory history that even ethnomusicologists and college-level students of African culture and tradition will find it fascinating.

 Very highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book covers a lot of information, and does a surprisingly decent job at it. The author makes little attempt to be judgemental or pretencious. He just tries to present the complex history of modern Congolese music(the most dynamic and popular music from Africa) as best as he could source it, AND OBVIOUSLY BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE COULD HAVE DONE IT.
A neat reference book for anyone interested in music from the Congos.
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Format: Paperback
Ably written by a published author of articles on African and Caribbean music whose work has appeared in "The Beat", "Option", "West Africa" and more, Rumba On The River: A History Of The Popular Music Of The Two Congos is an enthralling dissemination of how changing times and ancient traditions blended to create a distinctive type of music along the Congo River. From the currents of political struggle to the tides of self-expression, the history, vibrancy, and popularity of this music flowed, and its indelible impressions upon the human psyche are succinctly framed in an unforgettable prose.
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By Ajnabi on February 20, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very detailed and informative account of the riots, birth and growth of Congo music. Stewart is passionately in love with this music and it comes through each page. Full marks for comprehensive approach and taking us through the entire wild ride of Congo/Zaire/DRC? If you have any interest in this music buy this book,
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