Traditional Drummer

Pline Mounzeo, Traditional DrummerPline Mounzeo was born April 12, 1980 in Brazzaville, Congo growing up as a drummer for the church choir since age 11.

At age 18, Mounzeo started playing music alongside his uncle Arsene Kimbembe. Mounzeo’s interest in his country’s traditional rhythm with the Ngoma drum developed quickly.

Mounzeo continued to train and improve his drumming technique and began to share his talent all over Congo. He gave his first performances in Brazzaville and Pointe Noire, Congo. He began to contribute to Kongo culture and share the melodies of his country in Benin, Togo, Mali and Burkina Faso. Mounzeo then moved to Senegal where his professional drumming and modern contemporary dance career started to take off.

Modern Dancer

Pline Mounzeo, modern dancer

In 2005, Mounzeo joined Senegalese dance company, Premier Temps, lead by Congolese choreographer Andreya Ouamba. The next year, the company won first place in Théâtre de la Cité’s Sixth Edition of Choreographic Encounters of Africa and the Indian Ocean based in Paris, France. They went on tour to perform in theaters and festivals of seven African countries in 2007.

Mounzeo’s passion for dance was discovered during his exploration into the relationship between traditional and contemporary dance. The duality of the cultures and their subtle blend is evident in Pline’s first choreography created for “Leopold Sedar Sengor en Pays Sérère,” a theatrical performance based on poetry by President Leopold Sedar. The piece was performed by Mounzeo and participants of French based art foundation, Eolo on the late President’s day of remembrance in his birth village Joal, Senegal and again in Lyon, France as part of International Day of Francophonie festivities.

Mounzeo developed into an artistic instructor by leading workshops in Montessori schools in France. He shared his gift of dance at Eolo where he taught young people with autism. His work with Eolo led to his opportunity to train with musicians and singers of the Opera de Lyon which expanded the audiences he would perform for.

Mounzeo’s rising professional career in modern contemporary dance inspired his desire to experience new cultures offered by several countries in Europe and in Africa. In 2008, he decided to discover the culture of the United States and took his music and knowledge of Congolese tradition to share with it.

Since his time in the United States, he has performed and taught traditional Congolese drumming and dance at universities, music festivals and artist camps from California to New York and many states in between. He participates in UNC Hospital’s Door-to-Door Healing Arts program that brings professional performing and visual artists to patients, staff and caregivers at UNC Hospitals.

Travel between African and European countries and the United States inspired Mounzeo’s first album titled, “Bou Nzenza,” translated from the Kongo language to mean “Foreign.” It is being recorded in Chapel Hill, North Carolina by Double Decker Bus Music, Inc. and will be released December 2011 and available on iTunes and Amazon.

“It’s about my life as a stranger in other countries, taking Congo with me as I go,” says Mounzeo.

Mounzeo now resides in Cary, North Carolina and performs locally and internationally.

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