My trip to Kinshasa to bury Tabu Ley - Obachi Machoka


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My trip to Kinshasa to bury Tabu Ley - Obachi Machoka




Banners in memory of Tabu Ley durinh his funeral service held on Monday, December 9, 2013 in Kinshasa. Tabu Ley's burial date on Monday was a national holiday in Congo DR. PHOTO/FRED OBACHI MACHOKA

By FRED OBACHI MACHOKA

In Summary



  • Judging from what I saw at the funeral in Kinshasa, Tabu Ley could have sired close to 100 children.
  • Tabu Ley's burial date on Monday was a national holiday in Congo DR.
  • Also, the Tabu Ley dynasty lives on as more than 10 of his children are musicians. Among them are Melodie (daughter of Mbilia Bel) and Yousoupha (son of a Senegalese mother).



"Mokolo nakokufa nani akolela ngai?" (Who will mourn my death when I am gone?).


Millions of people world-wide! That would be the simple answer to Pascal-Emmanuel Sinamoyi Tabu aka Tabu Ley's rather innocuous question posed to lovers of rumba music more than four decades ago.

I was privileged to bear witness to that answer on December 8 and 9, as I visited Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo to pay homage to this great son of Africa, who passed away on Saturday, November 30 at a ‘tender' age of 73 years.

News of Tabu Ley's condition hit me when my good friend Amos Ngaira of Daily Nation called to inform me that Tabu Ley's illness had got worse and that he had been admitted to St Luc Hospital in Brussels, Belgium.

Radio show

That was around 10am on November 30, a time when I am normally on my way to the studios for my Roga-Roga radio show on Citizen FM.

News of that nature is always fodder for my radio listeners.

That day, however, I had travelled upcountry and was on my way to Nairobi, somewhere between Mulot and Longisa. I requested him to give me updates from Belgium as I continued with my journey.

BAD NEWS

Two hours later, Ngaira called me with the bad news, Tabu Ley was no more. I was devastated.

Immediately I contacted some of my good friends in the music circles. I called Paris, Brussels and Kinshasa, getting contradicting information.

I then called our studios and we, regrettably, went on air with the sad news.

"Kinshasa mboka ya bisengo; Kin kiesse yaya!" That is what the Congolese proudly say in reference to their capital city that is home to over 10 million people.

What it means is that Kinshasa is a city of fun and action.

Like Le Grand Maitre' Luambo Luanzo Makiadi once said in praise of his Tout Puissant Orchestre Kinshasa Jazz, "en entre OK, en sort KO" (meaning on entry ok, on exiting knock out).

At least that is what Kinshasa has been to me during my less formal visits in the past, a town with friendly people, of not very rich and extremely rich people somehow finding a common bond through music and creating that happy-go-lucky atmosphere about town that is so contagious.

Kinshasa was devoid of that atmosphere on December 7, 2013 when the Kenya Airways flight KQ554 landed on a chilly and wet Saturday morning.

Right from N'Djili Airport, I could see sad security personnel, tour operators, immigration officers and even those idlers (bashege) that normally pretend to be helpful around the airport while all they want is money.

The messages on the television sets inside the airport said it all: "Tabu Ley Rochereau, Monstre sacre' de la rumba, est mort."

CONGO MOURNS

Now, my French is terrible but one word that didn't escape me was "est mort," meaning is dead.

The airport taxi drivers had their radios blaring Tabu Ley music, Congo was in mourning.

The Kenyan Embassy in Kinshasa was kind enough to send someone to pick me up from N'djili Airport, and as we drove to downtown Kinshasa through Matete, Limite', Kasavubu, Comun Lingwala all the way to Hotel Sultani in an area called Gombe, the most prominent activity one could see was people putting up banners along the road and on buildings in respect of their departed hero.

At Hotel Sultani, I quickly checked into my room, took a shower and prepared to hit town in order to find out first-hand what was happening.

But first, I enquired from the hotel receptionist if the plane carrying the remains of Tabu Ley had landed from Brussels.

Not yet, I was told, and that the plane would land later that night, but if I needed more information, the place to be was at Palais Du Peuple (Parliament buildings).

That's where the remains would be headed for overnight vigil and viewing the following day before the funeral service inside the hall within later the following day.

Le Palais du People was a beehive of activity when I arrived.

Outside the hall, an open place the size of Uhuru Park, three huge stages had been set, one for artists sponsored by Primus (a local beer company) and another for those artists sponsored by Skol (another local brewer).

The third stage, a VIP stage, was for non-aligned artists. These three podiums would host performers the whole night.

Some of the major acts scheduled to perform included Papa Wemba, Werrason, JB Mpiana, Fally Ipupa, Ferre Gola and Koffi Olomide's Quartier Latin.

Much as I needed to see these guys on stage, I knew that my time in Congo was limited and I needed to acquaint myself with what was going on around town to get a bigger picture of common people's view of Tabu Ley.

Having visited Kinshasa before, I knew that the place to be was the area of Matonge, the ‘Eastlands' of Kinshasa with a difference.

HEAVEN'S REPRIEVE


There, the government had put up a monument and an open-air entertainment platform where artists performed for free throughout the night, but I retreated to my room to prepare for the following day.

Unlike the previous day's rains, Sunday December 8 was sunny. The heavens must have lifted the clouds to allow Kinshasa a chance to escort its beloved son.

All media was in overdrive with music, talk shows and news features all centred on Tabu Ley.

The only intruder (sorry to say this) was Nelson Mandela! Even in a fort as guarded as DR Congo during this occasion, good old Tata Madiba did find a way through into newsrooms.

I arrived at Palais du Peuple at 9.30am and found people milling around Seigneur Tabu Ley's coffin. Most of these were family and government officials, I was told.

As expected, the coffin was draped in DRC colours and under tight security since its arrival from Belgium.

Later, groups of musicians and friends started arriving and signing the visitors book. I also got a chance to pay my last respects and signed the visitors' book, hopefully representing all rhumba lovers in Kenya.

I took a walk around the music stands at the park. At the Skol stand, word went around that TP Ok Jazz was on stage. I thought it was a joke until the emcee introduced a tall young man as Luambo Makiadi's son, Emonge.

He told me TP OK Jazz was still alive and, as if to reiterate, he introduced me to a fellow band member. "That's the late Djo Mpoy's son".

Djo Mpoy was a vocalist in the legendary TP OK Jazz.

After some heavy rumba stuff by TP OK, it was the turn of Victoria Eleison under the tutelage of Emeneya. I strayed to the Primus stand where an electrifying group of young artists were toying with the crowd.

DYNASTY LIVES ON

I was informed it belonged to Felix Wazekwa. At the final podium, where neutral musicians were performing, I heard a song by Tabu Ley playing.

Last respect

On stage were some of the good old Afrisa International musicians including Maika Munain, who sang with Tabu Ley, backing the fallen musician's own son Pegguy Tabu. Pegguy's voice is not just as good as his father's, but better.

The young man belted out almost all of Tabu Ley's top songs, from Congo, Cherie, Samba, Mokolo nakokufa to Maze I love you….baby touch me.

I had had enough for the day, I needed to rest ahead of the burial ceremony the following day.

After all, none other than President Kabila himself was scheduled to lay a wreath on Tabu Ley's coffin at 10am the following day, and I needed to witness that.

Judging from what I saw at the funeral in Kinshasa, Tabu Ley could have sired close to 100 children.

I also learnt so much about patriotism and giving respect where it is due .

Also, the Tabu Ley dynasty lives on as more than 10 of his children are musicians.

Among them are Melodie (daughter of Mbilia Bel) and Yousoupha (son of a Senegalese mother).

Tabu Ley's burial date on Monday was a national holiday in Congo DR.

My trip to Kinshasa to bury Tabu Ley - Weekend - nation.co.ke
 
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ACTIVE VETERANS

Older generation musicians' numbers dwindling

The death of Tabu Ley has further depleted the class of older generation Congolese music legends. Kinshasa-based veteran Lutumba Simaro Masiya, the long serving vice-president of Franco's TP Ok Jazz band and now heading Bana OK band, Angola-based Sam Mangwana, Kiamuangana Mateta ‘Verckys', Josky Kiambukuta, Syran Mbenza and Michel Boyibanda are among the veterans of the second generation still around.

Second and third generation singers still active include Papa Wemba, Nyoka Longo of Zaiko Langa Langa, Koffi Olomide, Evoloko Jocker, Nyboma Mwandido, Lokassa ya Mbongo, Bopol Mansiamina, Nedule Papa Noel, Dizzy Mandjeku, Malage Lugendo, Syran Mbenza and Michelino Mavatiku.

King Kester Emenya formerly of Viva La Musica and later Victoria Eleison Josky Kiambukuta and Prince Youlou Mabiala have been off stage for health reasons.
 
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Tribute to Tabu Ley, the man who gave us ‘Muzina'... and 50 children




By AMOS NGAIRA

In Summary



  • He was a singer who loved to keep himself busy, both on and off the stage.
  • His large family is scattered all over the world, and last week, as his condition deteriorated at the St Lucas Hospital in Brussels - where he passed on - he was in the constant company of daughter Inna and two sons, including Mark, a France-based journalist.
  • They witnessed him receive the final holy communion from a Catholic priest in hospital last Friday morning, and all were in his room when he breathed his last the following day

Veteran Congolese musician Tabu Ley, who died in a Belgian hospital last weekend aged 73, was well-known for his excellent, free-flowing compositions, but he also excelled at something totally different: his ability to play the father figure role to all with whom he interacted.

That towering personality stands true for him even in death, both in Congo and Brussels.

Today, for instance, his funeral arrangements begin in Brussels, when his family, friends, fans and well-wishers in the large Congolese and African community living here are expected to converge on the funeral home to pay their last respects to this great African man.

And, tomorrow, an advance party comprising some family members and his former Afrisa International Band musicians, will fly to Kinshasa ahead of the return of his body for burial.

His former band manager, Mekanisi Modero, who is now based in the United States, will also fly to Kinshasa to organise a musical send-off for his former boss in the form of a concert, expected to be held next week, probably after the Monday burial.

FRUITFUL FAMILY MAN

But, just as he was prolific at making music, Tabu Ley was also quite fruitful in the family sense.


He sired nearly 50 children, who are today scattered all over the world. However, only a few of them have followed his footsteps into music.

The numbers might have been many, but he is said to have tried to maintain contact with those that he could.

Even in his twilight years, deeply ill and living either in Kinshasa, Paris or Brussels, Tabu Ley worked hard to play his fatherly role to all his children, borne of various mothers.

That is how, between 2009 and 2011, when he was being treated as an outpatient at a Parisian hospital, he lived with daughter Inna and her mother Melanie in Creteil on the outskirts of Paris.

He may not have been a constant figure in their lives, but somehow the two felt obligated to be there for him, with him.

He was a doting father, his admirers say, who did everything to ensure that his children had a good education.

And although he never discouraged them from venturing into music early, he motivated them to have a solid foundation in education.

And ‘The Family Man', as he was often fondly referred to, demonstrated that love by dedicating some of his songs to his spouses, fans and children.

Tabu, who earlier in his career in the 1960s was simply known as Pascal Rochereau, had a musical journey that spanned over four decades, starting in the late 1950s when he joined Orchestre African Jazz, headed by the legendary Joseph Kabasele, Le Grand Kalle.

The group featured the renowned solo guitarist Dr Nico Kasanda alongside his brother Charles Mwamba Dechaud.

But rivalry between the musicians saw Dr Nico and Tabu leave African Jazz to form African Fiesta in the early 1960s, and Dr Nico went on to relesae the ever-popular hit, Bilombe Ya Africa (African Champions), an indirect jab at their musical rivals.

But the two also parted company, with Nico forming African Fiesta Sukisa and Tabu birthing African Fiesta Nationale.

AUTHENTICITY

Then, after years of the big names on the Kinshasa circuit being known by their French first names, Mobutu Sese Seko climbed onto the platform breathing a firebrand cultural revolution known as ‘Authenticity' and forcing many artistes to shed their Christian names.

Kabasele gave up the name Joseph to take on a long identity that praised his supposed toughness, Pascal became Tabu Ley, while his biggest rival on the Congolese music scene then, Franco, became Luambo Luanzo Makiadi.

The names might have changed, but the quality of their compositions in the Lingala beat that spread like wildfire throughout Africa remained the same, if not better.

Tabu, for instance, maintained his fine, urbane touch to his music, as well as his solid connections with Kenya.

Many of his fans here will recall his 1982 visit with Mbilia Bel, when they released Kamunga. Later, in 1984, Mbilia's Nakei Nairobi and Twende Nairobi - the first a love song and the other a political hit in praise of former President Daniel arap Moi's Nyayo clarion call - became local anthems, both on radio and the dance floor.

The two musician's relationship went on to spawn the super-hits for which Mbilia is famed, including Nadina, Beyanga, Eswi Yo Wapi, and Nakei Nairobi.

Nairobi might have been attractive to the Congolese because of its modern recording studios, but the consummate family man looked beyond the microphone during his Nairobi calls to scout for opportunities for his children, and two of his daughters, Mireille and Collette, studied at the Utalii College in the '80s.

WHEELCHAIR-BOUND

The crooner has been in poor health and confined to a wheelchair since he suffered a stroke in 2008, an anti-climax to a life well-lived and a career that had been the envy of many, not only in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but also the rest of Africa.

That stroke was a setback for a man who, throughout his career, was known not only for his clear tenor voice, but also his nimble feet.

For, among the great musicians on the continent, Tabu Ley would have taken the accolades for being a great dancer hands-down.

This was a man who, in his heyday, was agile, stylish and a fantastic choreographer of the rhumba dance.

The man who introduced the sojourn beat to Linagala, the new up-tempo beat giving more emphasis on the drum beats and horns. Listen to it on the hit Sambuluma, released in the early '70s.

When his health deteriorated, he relinquished his position as Minister of Culture and Arts, Sports, Youth and Leisure, and Tourism in the City-Province of Kinshasa.

Prior to being appointed minister, he had held the post of vice-governor of the city of Kinshasa, under the Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD) party. Earlier, he had also served as a nominated MP, alongside Tshala Muana, the ‘Queen of Mutwashi'.

Last week, as his condition deteriorated at the St Lucas Hospital in Brussels, where he passed on, he was in the constant company of daughter Inna and two sons, including Mark, a France-based journalist.

They witnessed him receive the final holy communion from a Catholic priest in hospital last Friday morning, and all were in his room when he breathed his last the following day.

Tabu Ley may be gone, but his rich discography will live on, and present and future generations will continue to enjoy fine music from one of -Africa's greatest artistes.

TRIBUTE FROM PEERS

About two years ago crooner Koffi Olomide paid tribute to Tabu Ley by reproducing some of his popular oldies under the album ‘Koffi Chant Tabu Ley', redone during a LIVE show at a hotel in Kinshasa. Koffi reportedly singled out Tabu Ley as his mentor in vocals prowess.

Similarly, fellow musician Papa Wemba has praised Tabu Ley for having inspired many Congolese singers.

Veteran KBC radio presenter James Onyango Joel of the ‘Zilizopendwa' fame recalled recently, the hit song ‘Maze' was replayed by the rebels when they temporarily took over the KBC studios during the abortive 1982 coup attempt.

From then the song became a very popular club and radio hit, he said. Nairobi-based musician Ken Makokha of Ulinzi Orchestre says he got inspired to play the saxophone after listening to the horns in ‘Maze', popular for the catch phrase "I love you, baby touch me".

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

MUSICAL ORPHANS

DINO VANGU
The soft-spoken Dino Vangu (Ya Dino), after leaving Afrisa International in 1985, continued being an integral part of the group, where he was the band master (Chef d' Orchestre).


His unique solo guitar style features on some Afrisa songs like ‘Eboue'.

When he left the band to settle in Paris, his place was taken up by Huit Kilos, who now lives in the US. In Paris, Dino has set up a session group comprising his Paris-based rumba counterparts.

He has also released several albums featuring both new and old songs, backed up by Faya Tess and Lo-Benelle, an up and coming singer doing cover versions of most of Mbilia Bel's songs.

Last year when Tabu Ley returned to be feted back home in Kinshasa , Dino played the solo guitar during concerts to fete the fallen star.

The future looks bright for Dino and other former members of Afrisa International as they endeavour to revive the band and keep Tabu Ley's music alive.

KOFFI OLOMIDE

This is not your usual musician.

Described variously as "a very bright student", Koffi earned an academic scholarship to France to study Business Economics.

He has also established himself as outstanding in stage shows. For his effort, ‘Effrakata', released in 2001-2002, Koffi received four Kora Awards on a single night at the annual Kora Awards in South Africa for 2002 and 2003, including the award for Best African Artiste.

More recently, he has won the Kora Award for "Best African Artist of The Decade", leading to the establishment of one of his many aliases as the ‘Quadra Kora Man'.

He has often showered praise on Tabu Ley for having inspired him as a singer. Koffi did cover versions of 40 of Tabu Ley's popular oldies.

SAM MANGWANA

Sam Mangwana was born on February 21, 1945 in Kinshasa to parents of Angolan background.

He was a member of Franco's hugely popular TP OK Jazz and Tabu Ley's African Fiesta Nationale. As Tabu Ley pointed out during a telephone interview with this writer in 2009, other former members of Afrisa have gone on to establish successful solo careers.

They include singer Faya Tess, who lives in Paris, guitarist Nseka Huit Kilos, Dodo Munoko, Wawali Bonane and band manager Modero, all who live in the US.

The group's members who remained in Kinshasa include guitarists Dave Makondele and Master Mukonkole, both of whom were in the band that last visited Kenya in 1995. Mangwana is now based in Luanda, Angola.

MBILIA BEL

The songstress had a child with Tabu Ley -named Melodie, in the 1980s before going on to become a refined and mature performer.


Her songs, among them ‘Mobali na Ngai Wana (This Husband of Mine'), remains popular to date.

The song, composed by Tabu Ley is an adaptation of a traditional song in Kikongo, and in it M'bilia Bel praises her husband as being handsome and successful and stresses the fact that even though he has the opportunity to choose from any of Kinshasa's beautiful women, he chose her.

Other songs that blazed the charts during that period include ‘Balle a Terre' and ‘Bameli Soy'.

In 1987 Tabu Ley recruited another female artiste to accompany M'bilia Bel.

Kishila Ngoyi was here real name, but she was known by her artistic name, Faya Tess. It was with this new lineup that Afrisa embarked on a tour of East Africa that took in Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda, culminating in the album Nadina, which had Lingala and Swahili versions of the title song.

Tribute to Tabu Ley, the man who gave us
 
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Margwe

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This guy is indeed famous for and has been up to his talent! The only thing he should be warned in advance was that he should not die on the same month with politically renown people like Mandela! Thats all for now.




Tribute to Tabu Ley, the man who gave us ‘Muzina’... and 50 children




By AMOS NGAIRA

In Summary



  • He was a singer who loved to keep himself busy, both on and off the stage.
  • His large family is scattered all over the world, and last week, as his condition deteriorated at the St Lucas Hospital in Brussels — where he passed on — he was in the constant company of daughter Inna and two sons, including Mark, a France-based journalist.
  • They witnessed him receive the final holy communion from a Catholic priest in hospital last Friday morning, and all were in his room when he breathed his last the following day

Veteran Congolese musician Tabu Ley, who died in a Belgian hospital last weekend aged 73, was well-known for his excellent, free-flowing compositions, but he also excelled at something totally different: his ability to play the father figure role to all with whom he interacted.

That towering personality stands true for him even in death, both in Congo and Brussels.

Today, for instance, his funeral arrangements begin in Brussels, when his family, friends, fans and well-wishers in the large Congolese and African community living here are expected to converge on the funeral home to pay their last respects to this great African man.

And, tomorrow, an advance party comprising some family members and his former Afrisa International Band musicians, will fly to Kinshasa ahead of the return of his body for burial.

His former band manager, Mekanisi Modero, who is now based in the United States, will also fly to Kinshasa to organise a musical send-off for his former boss in the form of a concert, expected to be held next week, probably after the Monday burial.

FRUITFUL FAMILY MAN

But, just as he was prolific at making music, Tabu Ley was also quite fruitful in the family sense.


He sired nearly 50 children, who are today scattered all over the world. However, only a few of them have followed his footsteps into music.

The numbers might have been many, but he is said to have tried to maintain contact with those that he could.

Even in his twilight years, deeply ill and living either in Kinshasa, Paris or Brussels, Tabu Ley worked hard to play his fatherly role to all his children, borne of various mothers.

That is how, between 2009 and 2011, when he was being treated as an outpatient at a Parisian hospital, he lived with daughter Inna and her mother Melanie in Creteil on the outskirts of Paris.

He may not have been a constant figure in their lives, but somehow the two felt obligated to be there for him, with him.

He was a doting father, his admirers say, who did everything to ensure that his children had a good education.

And although he never discouraged them from venturing into music early, he motivated them to have a solid foundation in education.

And ‘The Family Man’, as he was often fondly referred to, demonstrated that love by dedicating some of his songs to his spouses, fans and children.

Tabu, who earlier in his career in the 1960s was simply known as Pascal Rochereau, had a musical journey that spanned over four decades, starting in the late 1950s when he joined Orchestre African Jazz, headed by the legendary Joseph Kabasele, Le Grand Kalle.

The group featured the renowned solo guitarist Dr Nico Kasanda alongside his brother Charles Mwamba Dechaud.

But rivalry between the musicians saw Dr Nico and Tabu leave African Jazz to form African Fiesta in the early 1960s, and Dr Nico went on to relesae the ever-popular hit, Bilombe Ya Africa (African Champions), an indirect jab at their musical rivals.

But the two also parted company, with Nico forming African Fiesta Sukisa and Tabu birthing African Fiesta Nationale.

AUTHENTICITY

Then, after years of the big names on the Kinshasa circuit being known by their French first names, Mobutu Sese Seko climbed onto the platform breathing a firebrand cultural revolution known as ‘Authenticity’ and forcing many artistes to shed their Christian names.

Kabasele gave up the name Joseph to take on a long identity that praised his supposed toughness, Pascal became Tabu Ley, while his biggest rival on the Congolese music scene then, Franco, became Luambo Luanzo Makiadi.

The names might have changed, but the quality of their compositions in the Lingala beat that spread like wildfire throughout Africa remained the same, if not better.

Tabu, for instance, maintained his fine, urbane touch to his music, as well as his solid connections with Kenya.

Many of his fans here will recall his 1982 visit with Mbilia Bel, when they released Kamunga. Later, in 1984, Mbilia’s Nakei Nairobi and Twende Nairobi — the first a love song and the other a political hit in praise of former President Daniel arap Moi’s Nyayo clarion call — became local anthems, both on radio and the dance floor.

The two musician’s relationship went on to spawn the super-hits for which Mbilia is famed, including Nadina, Beyanga, Eswi Yo Wapi, and Nakei Nairobi.

Nairobi might have been attractive to the Congolese because of its modern recording studios, but the consummate family man looked beyond the microphone during his Nairobi calls to scout for opportunities for his children, and two of his daughters, Mireille and Collette, studied at the Utalii College in the ’80s.

WHEELCHAIR-BOUND

The crooner has been in poor health and confined to a wheelchair since he suffered a stroke in 2008, an anti-climax to a life well-lived and a career that had been the envy of many, not only in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but also the rest of Africa.

That stroke was a setback for a man who, throughout his career, was known not only for his clear tenor voice, but also his nimble feet.

For, among the great musicians on the continent, Tabu Ley would have taken the accolades for being a great dancer hands-down.

This was a man who, in his heyday, was agile, stylish and a fantastic choreographer of the rhumba dance.

The man who introduced the sojourn beat to Linagala, the new up-tempo beat giving more emphasis on the drum beats and horns. Listen to it on the hit Sambuluma, released in the early ’70s.

When his health deteriorated, he relinquished his position as Minister of Culture and Arts, Sports, Youth and Leisure, and Tourism in the City-Province of Kinshasa.

Prior to being appointed minister, he had held the post of vice-governor of the city of Kinshasa, under the Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD) party. Earlier, he had also served as a nominated MP, alongside Tshala Muana, the ‘Queen of Mutwashi’.

Last week, as his condition deteriorated at the St Lucas Hospital in Brussels, where he passed on, he was in the constant company of daughter Inna and two sons, including Mark, a France-based journalist.

They witnessed him receive the final holy communion from a Catholic priest in hospital last Friday morning, and all were in his room when he breathed his last the following day.

Tabu Ley may be gone, but his rich discography will live on, and present and future generations will continue to enjoy fine music from one of -Africa’s greatest artistes.

TRIBUTE FROM PEERS

About two years ago crooner Koffi Olomide paid tribute to Tabu Ley by reproducing some of his popular oldies under the album ‘Koffi Chant Tabu Ley’, redone during a LIVE show at a hotel in Kinshasa. Koffi reportedly singled out Tabu Ley as his mentor in vocals prowess.

Similarly, fellow musician Papa Wemba has praised Tabu Ley for having inspired many Congolese singers.

Veteran KBC radio presenter James Onyango Joel of the ‘Zilizopendwa’ fame recalled recently, the hit song ‘Maze’ was replayed by the rebels when they temporarily took over the KBC studios during the abortive 1982 coup attempt.

From then the song became a very popular club and radio hit, he said. Nairobi-based musician Ken Makokha of Ulinzi Orchestre says he got inspired to play the saxophone after listening to the horns in ‘Maze’, popular for the catch phrase “I love you, baby touch me”.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

MUSICAL ORPHANS

DINO VANGU
The soft-spoken Dino Vangu (Ya Dino), after leaving Afrisa International in 1985, continued being an integral part of the group, where he was the band master (Chef d’ Orchestre).


His unique solo guitar style features on some Afrisa songs like ‘Eboue’.

When he left the band to settle in Paris, his place was taken up by Huit Kilos, who now lives in the US. In Paris, Dino has set up a session group comprising his Paris-based rumba counterparts.

He has also released several albums featuring both new and old songs, backed up by Faya Tess and Lo-Benelle, an up and coming singer doing cover versions of most of Mbilia Bel’s songs.

Last year when Tabu Ley returned to be feted back home in Kinshasa , Dino played the solo guitar during concerts to fete the fallen star.

The future looks bright for Dino and other former members of Afrisa International as they endeavour to revive the band and keep Tabu Ley’s music alive.

KOFFI OLOMIDE

This is not your usual musician.

Described variously as “a very bright student”, Koffi earned an academic scholarship to France to study Business Economics.

He has also established himself as outstanding in stage shows. For his effort, ‘Effrakata’, released in 2001-2002, Koffi received four Kora Awards on a single night at the annual Kora Awards in South Africa for 2002 and 2003, including the award for Best African Artiste.

More recently, he has won the Kora Award for “Best African Artist of The Decade”, leading to the establishment of one of his many aliases as the ‘Quadra Kora Man’.

He has often showered praise on Tabu Ley for having inspired him as a singer. Koffi did cover versions of 40 of Tabu Ley’s popular oldies.

SAM MANGWANA

Sam Mangwana was born on February 21, 1945 in Kinshasa to parents of Angolan background.

He was a member of Franco’s hugely popular TP OK Jazz and Tabu Ley’s African Fiesta Nationale. As Tabu Ley pointed out during a telephone interview with this writer in 2009, other former members of Afrisa have gone on to establish successful solo careers.

They include singer Faya Tess, who lives in Paris, guitarist Nseka Huit Kilos, Dodo Munoko, Wawali Bonane and band manager Modero, all who live in the US.

The group’s members who remained in Kinshasa include guitarists Dave Makondele and Master Mukonkole, both of whom were in the band that last visited Kenya in 1995. Mangwana is now based in Luanda, Angola.

MBILIA BEL

The songstress had a child with Tabu Ley -named Melodie, in the 1980s before going on to become a refined and mature performer.


Her songs, among them ‘Mobali na Ngai Wana (This Husband of Mine’), remains popular to date.

The song, composed by Tabu Ley is an adaptation of a traditional song in Kikongo, and in it M’bilia Bel praises her husband as being handsome and successful and stresses the fact that even though he has the opportunity to choose from any of Kinshasa’s beautiful women, he chose her.

Other songs that blazed the charts during that period include ‘Balle a Terre’ and ‘Bameli Soy’.

In 1987 Tabu Ley recruited another female artiste to accompany M’bilia Bel.

Kishila Ngoyi was here real name, but she was known by her artistic name, Faya Tess. It was with this new lineup that Afrisa embarked on a tour of East Africa that took in Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda, culminating in the album Nadina, which had Lingala and Swahili versions of the title song.

Tribute to Tabu Ley, the man who gave us
 
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Nice trip of You at Bury tuba. It is a nice place to visit.
 
mfianchi

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mfianchi

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ACTIVE VETERANS

Older generation musicians' numbers dwindling

The death of Tabu Ley has further depleted the class of older generation Congolese music legends. Kinshasa-based veteran Lutumba Simaro Masiya, the long serving vice-president of Franco's TP Ok Jazz band and now heading Bana OK band, Angola-based Sam Mangwana, Kiamuangana Mateta ‘Verckys', Josky Kiambukuta, Syran Mbenza and Michel Boyibanda are among the veterans of the second generation still around.

Second and third generation singers still active include Papa Wemba, Nyoka Longo of Zaiko Langa Langa, Koffi Olomide, Evoloko Jocker, Nyboma Mwandido, Lokassa ya Mbongo, Bopol Mansiamina, Nedule Papa Noel, Dizzy Mandjeku, Malage Lugendo, Syran Mbenza and Michelino Mavatiku.

King Kester Emenya formerly of Viva La Musica and later Victoria Eleison Josky Kiambukuta and Prince Youlou Mabiala have been off stage for health reasons.
Umesahau Tshimanga Assosa yupo TZ ni wa generation ya LipuaLipua
 

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