Beta Mbonda is a Kinshasa-based band, made up of youngsters who are former street gangsters ('kuluna') who gave up their old way of life to pursue their passion for traditional Congolese music. The band is into traditional percussion instruments, such as the madimba (traditional xylophones), the lukumbi (slit drums) of the Tetela people in Kasai , and the ditumba (open vase-shaped drums) of the Luba people in Kasai. It is not easy to find such instruments in Kinshasa any more and they have to be tracked down and brought in from afar.
Music Fund and the INA ( Institut National des Arts) have been supporting Beta Mbonda and the Espace Masolo (a cultural centre working with street children in Kinshasa) since 2012, with Music Fund donating instruments, providing free repairs at the workshop set up by Music Fund at INA, and giving free music lessons to teachers at the Espace Masolo and members of Beta Mbonda.
In 2014, REEJER (Réseau des Educateurs des Enfants et Jeunes de la Rue) as Music Fund's new partner in DRC became manager of a new project with Beta Mbonda (a member of the REEJER network) designed to give a new lease of life to the craft industry of traditional musical instrument making in Kinshasa. It will train young musicians from Beta Mbonda, together with students from INA and elsewhere, both in the making and the repair of such instruments.