Britannia Rumba – Libraries of Sanctuary Showcase on Saturday 18 September 2021

We celebrated Bolton Libraries joining the Library of Sanctuary movement with live music from the Democratic Republic of Congo from Britannia Rumba.

Audiences were dancing amongst the books of Bolton Central Library to celebrate Libraries of Sanctuary with Britannia Rumba delighting audiences with a free gig on Saturday 18 September.

Check out the pictures from the event here

Britannia Rumba played a unique style of high energy Soukouss, Zouk, Rumba, and Latin beats.

Hailing from the Democratic Republic of Congo, charismatic frontman and singer Blanchard de Plaizir who came to the North West of England as a refugee in 2000 fleeing the Congolese civil war.  He formed Britannia Rumba in 2004 with fellow refugee musicians and artists from the North West.

The band has played with leading African musical artists including Kanda Bongo Man, Koffi Olomide, and Awilo Longomba from DR Congo, South Africa’s Mafikizolo band and Zimbabwe’s Oliver Mtukuzi.  In 2008, they were part of the prestigious world music showcase WOMEX.  The band electrifies audiences with their infectious music wherever they appear.

Firm festival favourites, they performed at the Solidarity Social which launched Horizons Festival at HOME for Refugee Week 2021.


‘Pure pleasure…toe-tapping soukouss rhythms and sunshine-filled zouk can’t fail to make you smile.’

Listen to the band’s EP Techno Soukouss


Kende Kaka featuring Lady Jay Dee


Plaisir Encore


About Libraries of Sanctuary

Bolton, Manchester and Oldham library services successfully achieved the Libraries of Sanctuary award in recognition of their work in ensuring libraries are welcoming spaces for people who come to the UK to seek safety and sanctuary. These Greater Manchester based libraries join a handful of library services in the UK that have achieved this status.

To achieve the award, libraries are assessed on their cultural sensitivity, their work to reduce the barriers of language and culture, how they work with local refugee support organisations, training given to staff and volunteers, and how they involve refugee communities in creating projects and events. Libraries are also asked to celebrate June’s Refugee Week with book displays and/or events.

This show was part of Community Arts North West’s series of events for the Libraries of Sanctuary initiative in Greater Manchester and was created in partnership with Crossing Footprints, Manchester, Bolton, and Oldham Library Services.  

CAN is supported by