In 2004, Renaud Barret and Florent de la Tullaye ditched their respectable jobs in France and headed to Kinshasa. In the ruined capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country just emerging from one of postcolonial Africa’s worst conflicts, they felt strangely at home. “We were like mad dogs in a mad city,” says Barret.
It didn’t take them long to make friends. Barret, a former advertising agency director, and La Tullaye, a photojournalist, set about documenting the musical culture of the city’s ghettos on film. “It’s just crazy urban music,” says Barret. “From hip-hop to funk, blues, rumba: You get many, many, many orchestras. They are rehearsing, and they’ve got no prospects because there’s no future, but they rehearse anyway, every day.”