Congolese Music & Cultural Dance in USA
Nkumu Katalay is an artist, orator, multi-instrumentalist, and social activist whose main objective is to promote humanity. Born in Kinshasa, the capital city of the DR. of Congo and he lives in NYC. Nkumu's vision highlights the contribution of Congolese cultures in modern world history. He is the founder of The "Life Long Project" Band, a musical group and a project which focuses on pushing the positive narrative of the Congolese culture via music and social-cultural and educational initiatives. He is also founder of the Afro Congolese Dance program and company. Afro Congolese Dance programs have weekly mental and physical dance activities throughout New York City, in schools, corporations, or cultural centers for all ages from children to adults and seniors.
Music became Nkumu's path to navigating the world, his corner stone, which holds fragments of his identity together. The study of musical notes or beats, especially their movements, patterns, and how they are parallel to human cultures, remains his lifelong fascination. To Nkumu, “musical notes or beats are pieces of cultures residing within the realm of sound, and the ensemble of their interactions makes music.” Similar to notes, human cultures are fragments of historical formation, which gather under a specific civilization, and like notes, cultures are continuously seeking alternative manifestations. So, artistically, he discovered one tool after the other. Nkumu’s musical concept was cultivated via the Congolese “Mbonda” or “Ngoma” (drum) and movements (dance).
The cultural and social dynamics that exist both in New York City and Kinshasa helped his quest for translating his idea of sound and movements. Both places are very diverse and rich in culture. These two cities introduced Nkumu Katalay to the world, and they also poured into him a deep appreciation of humanity. While he mainly represents Congolese music and culture, his style is a hybrid of various genres reflecting the Afro-Diaspora global culture. Through dance, movements, songs, folklore, drumming, games, devotions, music, affirmation, and more importantly, through sound, Nkumu is able to tap into the dialectic space of humanity. In turn, this dialect enables him to express the three forms of human struggles, which he refers to as justice: the cultural justice, social justice, and global justice.
"He has been called the king of rumba soukous music. Born in the capital city Kinshasa of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nkumu blends the music of his homeland with contemporary sounds from the Americas to create a rhythmic beat."
Central Park Meer Festival
"When it comes to Congolese popular music, Nkumu Katalay can do it all: He's a dancer, singer, drummer, percussionist, guitarist, bassist and bandleader." AfroPopWorldwide