Click here to see the Bongo trailer.
Text quoted below is from Bongo: The Film Press Kit. Click here to read the full press kit and more at the excellent Bongo website.
"It’s true that life is a lottery
There is winning and losing
I've been searching for a long time
But I haven't found success
Still I'm fighting
But I haven't found success"
verse from Maisha Magumu
"From the streets of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, comes a
film about opportunity. Bongo, from the Swahili word
for "brain", represents the cunning resourcefulness
that it takes to survive on the streets of Dar es Salaam
and, for that, the city takes its nickname.
"From these streets came a movement that has taken
the music industry by storm and has created a new
voice for the younger generation that is being heard by
millions. They call this music Bongo Flava.
For the msela, the young street hustlers in Dar, Bongo Flava is
an identity [scroll down for details under Bongo Flava heading].
As a major force in mainstream media,
success stories of youth who 'made it big' as hip
hop artists straight off the streets have become a
source of inspiration for a generation of youth hoping
to catch a similar break.
"That break came for a group of msela when Urban
Project, an unconventional charity, stepped in and told
them that they were going to have an opportunity to
record an album of their hip hop. Suddenly, they were
tasked with the responsibility to find a studio, seek out
a willing producer, and write and record an album. Not
only that, they were presented with a chance to
improve their lives for the better. The story lies in how
they responded to these expectations and whether
they were able to live up to them.
"Over the course of six weeks, dramatic power shifts
occurred as the group realized that the hierarchy on
the streets didn't translate into the recording studio.
Close friendships were stretched to breaking points,
and an unlikely member of the group proved to be a
diamond in the rough..."
Bongo Flava - text is quoted from the Film page of the Bongo website.
Bongo Flava is a unique blend of story-telling, East-African song, and Western-inspired hip-hop that has taken the African music industry by storm and has created new voice for a generation of youth that is being heard by millions. For the msela, it is a microphone to express life, love, loss and ambition and a megaphone with which they voice their frustrations of the life on the streets that they were unwillingly thrust into. The lyrics of Bongo Flava tracks can be oppositional and rebellious in nature; they oftentimes express social critique and detail the hardships of life among marginalized Tanzanian youth. However, success stories of youth who ‘made it big’ as hip hop artists straight off the streets are a source of inspiration for young people hoping to catch a similar break. From the perspective of many young people living and working on the streets of Dar es Salaam, Bongo Flava is a musical genre that originated among and continues to be dominated by streetwise gangsters.