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For a few moments, the music does not stop. Sunday, April 24, in the heart of Abidjan night, the Congolese artist Papa Wemba collapsed during a concert. The singer, dubbed the “king of Congolese rumba” died as a result of this unease, at the age of 66 years. Founder of the label “Viva la Musica” in 1977, he discovered and influenced generations of African musicians
In October 2014, he confided to RFI Music:. “I always set my career by saying that I go where the job is calling me. But it must be done in very good conditions. So I went often in Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Congo – Brazzaville, South Africa … It’s been over forty years I’m on stage, and I say thank you to God for giving me this talent with which I crossed almost all oceans. “
In Abidjan, it is ultimately in the Atlantic Ocean as Jules Shungu Wembadio Pene Kikumba says Papa Wemba pushed Sunday his last breath in a microwave. A city for which he never hide his pleasure when he had to go there. And where he had recently adopted the young rapper Nash Ivorian for a featuring on the track “Sapologie” popular in Ivory Coast.
Guest festival of urban music Anoumabo (Femua) founded by the Ivorian group Magic System, the Congolese artist had once again made the trip to the Ivorian economic capital for both benefits. The first he never completed in Abidjan and the second in Korhogo (north), a step canceled by the organizers.
“Pope” of Sape
“it is with deep sadness that I announce the death of the Congolese artist Papa Wemba, occurred as a result of a malaise. In the light of events, the final concert planned in Korhogo is canceled “, briefly told journalists, the Commissioner-General of the Festival Salif Traoré Salif Traoré said, hugging the road with emotion. He was at his side, the Ivorian Minister of Culture and Francophonie, Maurice Bandaman, came to express his “solidarity to the family of African music. “
Born in 1949 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Papa Wemba dusted Congolese rumba, popular music in the 1950s, adding electric instruments, among others. His Analengo tubes, Maria Valencia or Yolele far exceeded the continent, making the player an ambassador of the “world music”. A widely enhanced status by signing in the early 1990s, the label Peter Gabriel realworld.
Papa Wemba is also the creator and the “pope” of the movement of SAPE, company ambianceurs and stylish people in the late 1970s dandies of movement based on a flamboyant and exaggerated elegance that has spread in the Congolese diaspora in the world.
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“I do not believe in”
Sunday, the Ivorians had woken up with the rumor of his disappearance. Some even believed in the last “April Fool” of the year. But at midday, the confirmation of the death of “King of Rumba” had caused a shock wave.
“I can not believe still says Firmin Kouakou shot, entrepreneur Marcory (south-east of Abidjan). Since my youth, I piled all tubes Papa Wemba. None of his albums is missing from my disco “, he says, before consoling, listening tube 70s group Zaiko Langa-Langa, in which the late artist made his debut .
“Mille maquis” of Marcory area a dozen eateries located a hundred meters from the scene of the tragedy, the death of Papa Wemba was on everyone’s lips. The managers, they have chosen to customer demand, to distil the artist’s tubes. “It’s our way of paying him a tribute. Because he rocked our childhood, our youth and guide kept our hopes. It was a monument of African music “ says the serious mine Laurent, 56, official.
” It was a great knight of arts and letters. He asked me, there are two days, “Why do you want me to take my retirement. This is my life, my passion. “ For him, one could console this starting stage. But for us, I do not think it’s that simple, “, testified Claudy Siar, host.
According to him” the King of Rumba “wished PRESTE more sooner than later. “But I told him that it is the prerogative of the biggest to go on stage last. It is he who has to close the ceremony to give a new impetus to youth said Mr. Siar. His songs are eternal. He signed cult songs. From generation to generation, we love and we love this Papa Wemba. “
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