By SAM PHIRI –
TONIGHT Chez Ntemba VIP Lounge in Kabulonga opens its doors for free in special honour of the departed world renowned Congolese Rumba legend Papa Wemba.
Chez Ntemba CEO ‘Papa’Augustine Kayembe said today that the VIP club will play the music of the late rumba king who collapsed on stage last week.
Kayembe said the late musician commanded a huge following among rumba fans across the globe with Zambia having a huge fan base.
“We want people to come in today at the club for free to celebrate the life of this great musician and all the music will be dedicated to him.
So all those who loved and followed his music can come so that together we can honour this great man in a special way,” Kayembe said.
Papa Wemba whose real names are Jules Shungu Wembadio Pene Kikumba was born on June 14, 1949 in Kasai, Belgian Democratic Republic of Congo.
He was one of the Congolese musicians whose blend of African, Cuban and Western influences became one of Africa’s most popular music styles.
Papa Wemba who died on April 24, 2016 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire will be greatly remembered for helping in the modernisation of Congolese rumba music, contributing to a new genre, soukous, which has influenced music across Africa.
With his bands Zaiko Langa Langa, Isifi and Viva La Musica, he had several hits, including “L’Esclave” and “Le Voyageur”.
Surprisingly, Papa Wemba’s father initially wanted him to study journalism or Law before developing his signature high –range voice in religious Catholic Church choir.
With his voice winning kudos the Congolese star was born and released his debut single in the capital Kinshasa in 1966.
He later co-founded a group called Zaiko Langa Langa which produced hits like “Pauline,””C’est la Vérité,” “Chouchouna,” and “Liwa Ya Somo,”
In 1969-74; founded and was lead vocalist in Isife Lokole, going into 1975-76; when he again founded Viva La Musica.
In 1977 he released the hit singles “Moku Nyon Nyon,” “Nyekesse Migue’l,” and “Cou Cou Dindon,”
Papa Wemba took a six-month break from the band to join Afrisa International in 1979 and released “Ngambo Moko” and “Levres Roses,”
It was in the same year that he toured Japan and in 1986; moved to Paris, formed a European version of Viva la Musica, 1987; formed Molokai International, 1987; released Papa Wemba, 1988.
The rumba king was not called king for nothing as he had several awards to his name that included All- Africa Best Music Award, KoraAward and best 1996 Artiste of the Year Award.
He was also named chieftain of the DRC Mongo ethnic group for contributing to Congolese music and culture in 1999.
The departed Congolese rumba star was married to Marie-Rose Luzolo and he leaves behind six children.