Friday, April 11, 2008


Richard Wilbur, Shame.
Depiano and Beguen Band, Gouvernment Ya Congo.

Revolution, imagined: Richard Wilbur's "Shame" was first published in Advice to a Prophet and Other Poems.

Their complete negligence is reserved, however,
For the hoped-for invasion, at which time the happy people
(Sniggering, ruddily naked, and shamelessly drunk)
Will stun the foe by their overwhelming submission,
Corrupt the generals, infiltrate the staff,
Usurp the throne, proclaim themselves to be sun-gods,
And bring about the collapse of the whole empire.

In Collected Poems.

Revolution, chimerical: Depiano's "Gouvernment Ya Congo" was recorded during a chaotic year when the newly-independent Republic of the Congo fell into vicious, endless civil war, with both Patrice Lumumba and Dag Hammarskjöld dead by the end of '61.

From Benn Loxo du Taccu, which first featured the track back in '05: The DRC is a vibrant place filled with intelligent people that’s going absolutely nowhere due to continued strife and bad government.

So then why are the guys singing this song so happy? Yes, their country just gained independence (the song is from 1961), but listen to the politicians they sing about: Kasavubu, Congo’s first president who is soon to be deposed by Mobutu; Adula, the short-lived prime minister who took over the job after the American-ordered assassination of their first prime minister; Mobutu, the army-leader who will soon either fire or kill everyone in political office and lead his country for 30 long, dictatorial years. Time for a rhumba!"

On Ngoma: Souvenir ya l'independence.

Top: Moise Tshombe.

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