Papa Wemba (1949-2016)

Papa Wemba's career started early 1970s when he was one of the singers of Zaiko Langa Langa, a young band with a radical new style. Ambitious as he is, he left the band and created, along with Evoloko Lay Lay, Mavuela Somo and Bozi Boziana, a new band Isifi Lokole. Although successful, the outfit fell apart after a year and Wemba, Mavuela and Bozi formed Yoka Lokole. Due to various difficulties, the band would not last much longer, and in 1977, Papa Wemba decided to set up a new line-up, Viva La Musica. By 1986, he was ready to enter the European music market, for which he recorded separate solo albums, parallel to the Viva la Musica group albums. His distinct voice and his exceptional musicality have certainly helped him to gain international acclaim.

At the end of the 1990s, he created a new band Nouvelle Ecriture (later Nouvelle Ecrita) with young musicians. The band Viva la Musica (in the meantime renamed into Viva la Musica-Cour des Grands) remained.

In 2003, Papa Wemba comes in serious conflict with the French authorities, for allegedly having facilitated illegal immigration into France of young Congolese by claiming them being part of Viva la Musica. He spent some time in prison in France, for what became popularly referred to as « affaire Ngulu ». Since his provisional release, he has set up a new band (Nouvelle Tendance) in France, while the Viva la Musica and Nouvelle Ecrita band members were left behind in Kinshasa. For some time, Papa Wemba was not allowed to leave France. In 2010, he came back with a new album, « Notre Père (Rumba) », followed by the 2014 album « Maître d'école ».

In the early morning of 24 April 2016, Papa Wemba died at the age of 66 during what turned out to be his last concert on the Festival des musiques urbaines d'Anoumabo (FEMUA) in Côte d'Ivoire, he collapsed during the third song. He died shortly after.
Papa Wemba
  Papa Wemba  

Born: 14 June 1949, as Jules Shungu Wembadio Pene Kikumba in Lubefu, Kasaï Oriental Province, † 24 April 2016
Style: modern Congolese music, rumba, soukous

Title Year Label Remarks
Forever de génération en génération 2016 Papa Wemba
Ainsi soit-il - 123 titres essentiels 2016 Les Disques Caractère - Sonodisc Download album with 123 tracks
Maître d'école - Rumba na Rumba 2014 Cornely Malonge
Notre Père (Rumba) 2010 Sina Performance
New Morning 2006 Synchronies Music PW001 CD & DVD of live performance at the New Morning
Best of Papa Wemba 2003 Sonodisc CDS 9116 2 CD (Compilation)
Molokai 1998 Real World CDRW 70
Emotion 1995 Real World CDRW 52 International Solo Album
Le Voyageur 1992 Real World CDRW 20 International Solo Album
Papa Wemba 1988 Stern's STCD 1026
Album with Koffi Olomide:
Wake Up - Album de légende 1996 Sonodisc CDS 8817
Albums with Viva la Musica/Cour des Grands/Nouvelle Ecrita (Ecriture):
Kaka Yo 2008 Diego Music CD & DVD, with Viva la Musica
Nkunzi Nlele 2006 Sonima SMCD 1692 With Viva Tendances
Liste des Bavards 2005 R.I. Bolelo production Rodgens & Cour des Grands
Bazonkion 2005 WBE Productions / AM CD (6 tracks) & DVD, with Nouvelle Ecrita
Mwana Molokai: First 20 Years 2004 Stern's STCD3019-20 2CD, compliation of Viva la Musica songs 1977-1997
Somo Trop 2003 Sono CDS 9147 With Nouvelle Ecrita
Nkila Mogroso-Sans Frontières Live 2003 Gillette d'Or GO 1011 Live, with Nouvelle Ecrita
Bakala Dia Kuba 2001 Sonodisc CDS 8916 With Nouvelle Ecrita (although
presented as a solo album)
Hiroshima 2001 Afrisong Records With Nouvelle Ecriture and Cour des Grands
A la une 2001 Clarys Music/
Rigo Makengo RMP307600
With Nouvelle Ecriture
Ya Biso Moko 1999 KIAMI/G.A. Productions KSI12942 With Nouvelle Ecriture
Also Ngoyarto NG074 (2002)
Mwana Matebu 1999 Kaluila KL0190 With Viva Cour des Grands
M'zee Fula-Ngenge 1999 Sonodisc CDS 8836
Dans L' 1998 Sonodisc CDS 8833
Nouvelle Ecriture 1997 Sonodisc CDX 8828
Papa Wemba/Koffi/Viva la Musica:
1997 Ngoyarto NG 027 With Viva la Musica
La naissance de l'orchestre 1977/78 1997 Ngoyarto NG 026 With Viva la Musica
Pole Position 1995 Sonodisc CDS 8815
Foridoles 1994 Sonodisc CD 72424
Mokili Ngele 1991 Dario Production DSK 1 M
Biloko ya Moto 1990 NM 46302
Nouvelle Génération à Paris 1988 Esperance CD 8459
Au Japon 1988 Esperance ESP 8450
Destin Ya Moto 1988 Esperance ESP 8449
Love Kilawu 1987 Sonodisc ESP 8438
Ma bijou 1986 Rythmes et Musique REM 560
L'esclave 1986 Gitta Production GIP 004
8ième Anniversaire 1985 EPP/FDB EPP02 Released on CD in 1990
Evolution 1985 1312 With Angolan singers Rive Kono and Pacha
Mwana Molokai 1983 IADS 006

Page added February 1998