Sunday, December 01, 2013

Soukousobit: Tabu Ley Rochereau

Soukous pioneer Tabu Ley Rochereau has died.

During the period of Mobutu Sese Seko regime, Tabu Ley spent years living in exile - including a spell in Southern California - before returning home in 1997.

He'd first became famous after singing on Indépendance Cha Cha, which celebrated Congolese independence from Belguim:

He stayed with Africa Jazz for a few years, before founding first African Fiesta National and then Orchestre Afrisa International. En route, he helped establish the careers of Papa Wemba, Sam Mangwana, Faya Tess and M'bilia Bel. The latter would also become his wife.

As well as pretty much creating soukous, the Congolese musician also had a political career - he eventually became vice-governor of Kinshasha. He also, apparently, found time to father 68 children and write over 3,000 songs.

Tabu Ley suffered a stroke in 2008, from which he never recovered; he was receiving treatment for the after-effects when he died.

Here's just a couple of those 3,000 songs:

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