Congolese music legend and king of the sapeurs Papa Wemba died earlier today. What a week pic.twitter.com/K6ydq828GL
- Aminatou Sow (@aminatou) April 24, 2016
Esclave, Kaokokokorobo and Le Voyageur, died during a concert on 24 April 2016, following a fall on stage. He was 66 years old. Wemba was known as a cross-cultural icon in the world music genre, collaborating with artists from Sri Lanka, France and the United States, including British musician Peter Gabriel. He ferociously incubated new African music, art and film talent in a number of art communes in Kinshasa and Paris, France, giving African culture a stepping stone into larger markets. "He was known as a true trendsetter," Suzana Omiyo told Al Jazeera following the news of his death.
Omiyo, a popular Kenyan musician, worked with Wemba. Born Jules Wembadio Kikumba in the small river community of Lubefu, in the now Democratic Republic of Congo, Wemba began his musical career with the Zaiko Langa Langa group in 1969, mixing African sounds with more contemporary Western rock and pop music. The group played the legendary Rumble in the Jungle: Zaire 74 concert along with James Brown and Miriam Makeba. Wemba moved on to several other band projects, culminating in his most prominent group as leader, Viva la Musica. He had his most international success with Viva la Musica, primarily in France and other French-speaking territories, including Belgium and Canada, during the early 1980s. Around this time, Wemba discovered the young singer songwriter Koffi Olomide, who went on to become one of the top-selling African artists in the world.
Koffi Olomide présente ses condoléances à toute la famille Biologique de Papa Wemba https://t.co/CK2uNjxc1R
- Koffi Olomide (@Kofficentral) April 24, 2016
Singing in Minneapolis tonight remembering @prince and Papa Wemba! pic.twitter.com/X9kSVrTk38
- Angelique Kidjo (@angeliquekidjo) April 25, 2016
Papa wemba one africa biggest artist. Rest in peace. He stood For an africa united. One love pic.twitter.com/IN4nI4zRID
- Wyclef Jean (@wyclef) April 24, 2016
We mourn yet again! Papa Wemba, great Congolese musician dies on stage. Thank you for the rumba & kwassa kwassa. You left joy in our hearts!
- Tim Modise (@TimModise) April 24, 2016
To celebrate the life and art of one of Africa's greatest talents, watch some of Papa Wemba's greatest songs: