COMPAS congo roots

Dallas Johnson and Siama Matuzungidi, COMPAS teaching artists.

When COMPAS Teaching Artist Siama Matuzungidi is joined by wife and musical partner, Dallas Johnson, their harmonies are inspiring, and their joy is contagious as they perform and inspire everyone to sing along, said a press release.

The duo will tell stories of life in Africa and encourage everyone to use their imagination to transport them to the Democratic Republic of the Congo at a performance at the International Falls Public Library on Sept. 23.

“In Congo, music is so fun. It’s shared by everyone in the community and it’s a part of everything we do,” Matuzungidi said.

Matuzungidi grew up in the “Bas Congo” region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where he learned to love music and storytelling. While living in Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Dubai and Japan, Matuzungidi recorded hundreds of songs and toured the world with popular artists, earning the title, “soukous legend.”

Now Minneapolis residents, Matuzungidi and Johnson provide elementary education programs for Classical Minnesota Public Radio’s Class Notes, in addition to being COMPAS Teaching Artists.

As well as singing and guitar, Matuzungidi plays traditional African instruments like mbira, or thumb piano, and balafon, or marimba.

Matuzungidi and Johnson are bringing Congolese music to libraries throughout the Arrowhead Library System.

Children and families will be encouraged to sing along in Kikongo, Lingala and English while hearing fun stories that bring Matuzungidi’s rural Bas Congo childhood to life.

There is no cost to attend the program, and all ages are welcome.

This program, sponsored by Arrowhead Library System, was funded in part or in whole with money from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the ACHF.

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