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Congo-Kinshasa

Jules Shungu Wembiado Pene Kikumba (Papa Wemba)

Date of Birth: 14/06/1949
Place of Birth: Lubefu, Congo-K
Died: 24/04/2016


Displaying 1-4 out of 4 results.

Papa's posthumous politics

Known to the world as Papa Wemba, Jules Shungu Wembiado Pene Kikumba was buried in Kinshasa on 4 May in the city cemetery, the Nécropole at Nsele...

In life, Papa Wemba generally stayed out of politics, though his self-proclaimed presidency of the designer label-obsessed Société des ambianceurs et des personnes élégantes (SAPE, Society of mood-creators and elegant people), accompanied by his eclectic personal fashion sense, was a deliberate and provocative rejection of the drab, Mao Zedong-inspired menswear called the abacos, which the late President Mobutu Sese Seko insisted upon...

In this highly-charged, theoretically electoral year, it was always likely that Papa Wemba would in death be dragged into the political maelstrom...

Former Katanga Governor Moïse Katumbi Chapwe, who has recently declared himself a candidate for the presidency, made it known that he had wanted to go to Papa Wemba's funeral in Kinshasa but the authorities denied him permission to fly to Kinshasa...

Instead, he contented himself with helping to organise a memorial service for Papa Wemba in Kamalondo, one of Lubumbashi's poorer districts...

GenerationsPapa Wemba's career took off in earnest in 1969, when Congolese music was at its zenith across swathes of Africa and beyond...

Papa Wemba joined Zaiko Langa Langa that year, a group whose popularity soared during the 1970s until it became the premier 'third generation' band...

In 1979, Papa Wemba, whose distinctive falsetto vocals are said to have been influenced by the late Corsican tenor Tino Rossi, broke from Zaiko and formed his own band, Viva La Musica...

Papa Wemba was a regular performer at WOMAD festivals and steadily built for himself a European, and later global, reputation...

Chameleon-like, Papa Wemba developed a new hybrid sound for his international tours but when back in Congo, he returned to his rumba roots...

Ever the wanderer, when South Africa opened up to the rest of the continent after 1994, Papa Wemba was one of the first Congolese artists to venture there, soon recording in Johannesburg with a leading anti-apartheid singer, the late Brenda Fassie...

The word in Kinshasa was that this was Papa Wemba's punishment for earlier releasing a song that appeared to mock the Afro-Christian Kimbanguist church, founded by Simon Kimbangu...

Whatever really happened, Papa Wemba emerged from gaol claiming to have renewed his faith in Jesus and soon afterwards, had a personal audience with Pope Benedict XVI in Rome...

As a result, contemporary Congolese musicians mostly lack the continental and global celebrity status of their predecessors, and few would be likely to receive the powerful international reaction to their passing triggered by Papa Wemba's...

When President Kabila took the public lead in honouring Papa Wemba, this was noted with wry smiles in the musician's spiritual home, Kinshasa's crowded Matonge quartier...

The irony that Matonge is being stifled while he is lionised in death would not have been lost on Papa Wemba...


Countdown in Addis

After the speeches, the audience for legendary musicians Salif Keïta and Papa Wemba, tasked with winding up the day, was a mere 30 or so...


Papa Wemba's big band

Congolese music star Papa Wemba was extradited by France to Belgium in late February to face charges of illegally obtaining visas for Congolese immigrants by claiming they were members of his band...


Fela and his heirs

Zaïrean (Congolese) dance styles, which originally won fame in t he days of Franco and Congo-Jazz, remain massively popular in Africa, thanks to the likes of Kofi Olomide, Papa Wemba and Félix Wazekwa...

Kinshasa homecomingThe Kinshasa scene has been gradually falling away in recent years, as stars such as Papa Wemba moved to Paris...


Displaying 1-4 out of 4 results.