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The music plays on

A portrait of a Congolese symphony orchestra

The news coming out of the Democratic Republic of Congo is almost relentlessly bad. Roughly five million Congolese people have perished in the nearly 12 years of ongoing fighting across the country. (Need to Know has covered this crisis in the Congo on several occasions, in addition to exploring the United States’ own complicity in what’s happening there.)

But it’s important to remember that even in the midst of unimaginable horror, people can — and do — flourish. As part of our ongoing collaboration with the VII Photo Agency, we bring you photographer Marcus Bleasdale’s portrait of one remarkable symphony orchestra that’s thriving in Congo’s capital city, Kinshasa.

Before coming across the Kimbaungist Symphony Orchestra in 2008, Bleasdale had spent nearly a decade documenting the rapes, murders and dislocation that have gone on virtually unchecked across Congo’s countryside. His work from Congo has been published in many newspapers and magazines, as well as two books.

A wonderful documentary about the Kimbaungist Symphony Orchestra, aptly called “Kinshasa Symphony,” has just been released. For more information about the film, visit the website.

This video was first published on the Need to Know website on April 28, 2011.

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