Jean Bialu Madilu
a.k.a. Madilu System or le Grand Ninja will be remembered for his legendary
duets with the great Franco
. Starting his career in 1969 with a young band called Symba
, he joined for short
stints various band, such as Orchestre Bamboula
, Festival des Maquisards
, Fiesta Populaire
with guitarist Yossa Taluki
and a singer called Pires
in 1973 (cf. Gary Stuart: Rumba on the River).
After three years he left the band to create his own, initially called Orchestre Pamba-Pamba
and later renamed into
Madilu System. After the lack of success of Pamba Pamba, and a short period with Tabu Ley
he eventually joined Franco's TP OK Jazz
in the early 1980s,
where he became a respected and successful composer and singer. Among others, his role was prominent in hit songs such as
« Non »
, « Mario »
, « Réponse de Mario »
« La Vie des hommes »
(1986) and « Mamou (Tu Vois?) »
Shortly after Franco's death in 1989 Madilu left the band to start a solo career and released a number of successful albums.
He remained faithful to his particular way (system) of singing, hence his name Madilu System, and to his
signature laughter he used in numerous songs. In 2006, he featured on Kekele
« Kinavana »
on the song « Tapale »
. In addition,
he reprised the song « Mario »
« Ketukuba »
In spring 2007, Madilu recorded « Bonne humeur »
. His husky voice was no longer so high but
he still sung very well, and with the help of guitar players Syran M'Benza
, Fofo le Collegien
, Dally Kimoko
and Papa Noel
, and singers
and Wuta Mayi
, who both wrote one song on the album (the other 8 songs were by Madilu).
It is seen as one of his best albums.
On August 11 of the same year, Madilu died in a Kinshasa hospital. He was suffering from diabetis, but nobody expected this
loss, and shortly after, "Thousands of fans have taken to the streets of the Democratic Republic of Congo's
capital to mourn Madilu System, known as 'Congo's King of Rumba'."
(BBC NEWS). On the DVD Dernière volonté
there are images of the funeral ceremonies, quite unusual on a commercial music DVD.