Inside DRC

Video: Congo musician Papa Wemba dies on stage



Congolese music star Papa Wemba has died after collapsing on stage in Abidjan in Ivory Coast.

BBC quotes a video from the concert which shows the artist, who was 66, slumping on the floor as dancers continue to perform, unaware of what is happening.

French broadcaster France 24 reported the death, quoting his manager.

Reports say Wemba suffered a seizure while performing in Abidjan, Ivory Coast and died.

Jules Shungu Wembadio Pene Kikumba, commonly know as Papa Wemba (June 14, 1949 – April 24, 2016), is known for working in the Congolese rumba (later known as soukous) genre.

He was one of Africa’s most popular musicians of the period and prominent in world music.

He has been dubbed the “King of Rumba”.

Papa Wemba was one of the very first musicians to join the influential Soukous band, Zaiko Langa Langa when it was created in December 1969 in Kinshasa along with such well known Congolese musicians as Nyoka Longo Jossart, Manuaku Pepe Felly, Evoloko Lay Lay, Bimi Ombale, Teddy Sukami, Zamuangana Enock, Mavuela Simeon, Clan Petrole and others.

On 18 February 2003, suspected of being involved in a network that has allegedly smuggled hundreds of illegal immigrants from the Democratic Republic of Congo (former Zaire) into Europe, Papa Wemba was arrested at his home in Paris.

He was eventually found guilty at some level in June 2003 and spent three and a half months in prison, an experience that, on his release after a €30,000 bail was posted, he declared had had a profound psychological effect on him.

The singer claimed to have undergone a spiritual conversion in jail and even recounted this episode on his album Somo Trop (released in October 2003).

On the song “Numéro d’écrou”, he recalled the day “God” paid a visit to his cell.

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