Nov 152013

Wilker Flores

A friend sent me a link to the story that I’m about to summarize. I thought it was inspirational. Maybe you will, too.

It’s about an orphanage in the war-ravaged town of Huambo in the Republic of Angola, a country in southern Africa. After a decimating 30-year civil war that ended in 2002, Angola was left with among the worst standards of living, life expectancy rates, and infant mortality rates in the world. The orphanage (named Okutiuka) is run in a bombed-out milk factory by a young woman, a native of Huambo, named Sonia Ferreira and her boyfriend Wilker Flores. According to the article I’m summarizing, “The Okutiuka orphanage isn’t funded by the government, and subsists on private donations and a mix of embassy-gifted funds.”

Apart from caring for more than 50 orphaned and abandoned children in Huambo, Ferreira and Flores are the ringleaders of an ongoing effort to encourage and promote heavy metal as a vehicle for young musicians throughout Angola to give voice to the pain and deprivation their country experienced over the last 3 decades. Against tremendous odds, they helped organize the first national rock and metal festival in 2011 and have continued it each year since. And their story is now the subject of a documentary film entitled Death Metal Angola, which has already garnered a lot of critical praise.

The story of how the film came to be made is itself a fascinating one. It was directed by a Detroit native named Jeremy Xido, and here’s the description of how the project began and came to fruition:

Xido was working in Angola on a project about Chinese construction workers building a railway when he sat down for coffee and a pastry at a cafe in Huabu, a decimated city far from the capital. A well-dressed young man engaged him in conversation, and mentioned that he was a musician. It was Wilker Flores.

“I said, ‘That’s wonderful, what are you playing?’” Xido recalls.

His response dumbfounded Xido. “Death metal.”

That night, Xido went to see Flores’s show, assuming it was at a local club. The venue turned out to be Ferreira’s orphanage. The music was, as he describes it, “harrowing, beautiful, terrifying.”

In 2011, Xido returned to Angola for more work on his construction documentary, but found himself calling up the orphanage couple when he arrived. “We’re organizing the first-ever national rock concert and you’re going to film it,” they told him. Two years later, Death Metal Angola is readying for its premiere, and the railway film remains unfinished.

The film will have its U.S. premiere at the DOC NYC film festival in New York City this Saturday (it has already been shown at over 40 other festivals worldwide). Xido will return to Angola in late November for a screening and concert in the capital of Luanda. “Afterwards,” as the article reports, “a partnership with the Fulbright Association will hopefully raise enough funds in their crowdsourced campaign to launch a tour of the movie, hitting America’s cities most impacted by economic and natural disaster.”

To find out more about that crowdfunding campaign for The DMA Resilience Tour, go HERE (it lists among its supporters Martin van Drunen and Children of Bodom). To read the full article that’s the source of this post, visit this location, and follow Death Metal Angola on Facebook via this link.

Now, here’s a video about the film and the crowdfunding project. Fuckin’metal.



  1. Sweet, I’d love to see Death Metal Angola. There seems to be more docos like this coming out these days, like the stuff that Sam Dunn has done. It’s great to see this part of society finally being protrayed in a more realistic light.

    • I would really like to see this, too, though I don’t think Seattle is going to qualify as one of the cities that Jeremy Xido has in mind for the tour. I’ll have to wait for the DVD.

  2. This is awesome! I could see this place become the next cultural explosion of extreme metal. The conditions and things these people experience will engulf the music.

    • There are other countries between the Sahara and South Africa where metal is growing, too. I hope you’re right that it becomes the next cultural explosion of metal. I also hope there will be recordings of the bands featured in Death Metal Angola that become available. I would love to hear more of what they’re doing than the snippets of music in the crowd-funding video.

  3. this is just pure awesome

  4. I’m from Detroit too. I have been a death metal musician for many many years. I am astounded by this development. Most Detroiters only seem to be interested in rap. with a few exceptions. These people in this poor country are the under dogs. Playing the music of the underdog. Not the corporate hero and they love it!!! I’m having trouble putting in to words how I feel. amazed is pretty close. Let me know when you hit Detroit with this.

  5. Mike Reseigh, I like you comment, your talking points are 100% on the mark. As for this project and film. It is long over due. Jeremy this needs to be done. I once heard stories of the Great Depression, how people pulled together. Just amazing stuff. But jump ahead to 2013. People have lost touch. If there was a great long lasting collapse due to a catastrophe. People would starve and die. People are no long capable of thinking for themselves and pulling together. They have become dependant on the goverment for the answers. As we all learn the Goverment is only out for themselves and we are nothing more than cannon fodder. I would like to see this play in Boston. This city is filled with so many disconnected people. And is a perfect example of a currupt local and state goverment. A city ripe for a catastrophe. The whole thing is a house of cards as are most cities in the good ole USA. I will spread the word among Boston’s metal scene or whats left of it. Peace brother and good luck

  6. If you like this you should give some money to the DMA Resilience Tour so the film and the story can get on the road. Click on the Rockethub site above!

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