Remembering A Congolese Rumba King

Mashariki

tabu ley rochereau
Tabu Ley Rochereau performing at a 2003 festival in Hertme, Netherlands.

By Anastasia Tsioulcas – NPR

One of Africa’s biggest hitmakers, Tabu Ley Rochereau, a star with a honeyed voice who went on to become one of the continent’s most successful music impresarios, died Saturday. He never truly recovered from cardiovascular problems two years ago, and died at a hospital in Brussels after being admitted with an infection.

He was born Pascal-Emmanuel Sinamoyi Tabu in either 1937 or 1940 (sources differ) in a small village in Bandudu province in what was then still the Belgian Congo and is now the Democratic Republic of Congo. He became one of Africa’s most prominent musicians — dubbed “the voice of lightness” for his effortlessly sweet tone — and along the way was one of the pioneers of Congolese rumba, the dance music that managed to meld the sounds of a Cuban bandstand with…

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