Jacques Sarasin’s On the Rumba River is set to released on June 6, 2008. The film celebrates the work of African musician Wendo Kolosoy, and the effect it has had on listeners worldwide. Featuring stunning images and unforgettable music and interviews, the film honors the Congolese people who have been sustained by his music, despite desperate poverty, a history of oppression and an ongoing civil war that has killed nearly 4 million people.
The young Antoine Kolosoy, as Wendo used to be known, composed his first songs on a beat up old guitar. As he gained renown, he was persecuted by the church and his music became banned by the Belgian colonial authorities who feared his joyful rhythms would stir unrest. However, Kolosoy never ceased his music making, and when his first album was released in 1948, he became the first superstar of Congolese Rumba. In the 1960s, as the country suffered for nearly three decades under the dictator Mobutu Sese Seko,his songs expressed the hopes of a newly independent nation.
Filmmaker Jacques Sarasin co-founded an arts organization and a foundation dedicated to creating habitat in Africa and Latin America. After starting the production company Les Productions Faire Bleu in 1996, Sarasin produced a number of films before directing several widely acclaimed documentary features.