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Papa Wemba Dies during Ivory Coast Show

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Congolese music legend Papa Wemba has died during a show in Ivory Coast at the age of 66.

Footages from the show showed Papa Wemba collapsed on stage behind a group of dancers, before they rushed to his aid.

Papa Wemba’s pioneering blend of African, Cuban and Western sounds became one of Africa’s most popular music styles.


He also toured around the world, and recorded with British artist Peter Gabriel.

Papa Wemba fell ill in the early hours of Saturday morning. The cause of his death has not been established.

He died before he could be brought to hospital, a spokesman for the Ivosep morgue in Abidjan told Reuters.Papa Wemba dead at 66

Born in 1949, Papa Wemba, whose real name was Shungu Wembadio Pene Kikumba, began his singing career in religious choirs.

He helped modernize Congolese rumba music, with the genre that emerged – soukous – influencing music across Africa.

Together with his bands Zaiko Langa Langa, Isifi and Viva La Musica, Pap Wemba racked up hit after hit, including L’Esclave and Le Voyageur.

Papa Wemba appeared in two feature films, Life Is Beautiful (1987) and Wild Games (1997).

He was also a style icon, the driving force behind the cultural movement the Sapeurs, whose young men spend vast amounts on designer clothes.

In 2004, Papa Wemba was convicted of people-smuggling in France and spent three months in prison.

The conviction related to a racket whereby illegal immigrants were taken to Europe posing as members of his band.

A Belgian court convicted the musician of the same crime in 2012, handing down a fine of €22,000 ($24,690) and suspended prison sentence of 15 months.

He was also once jailed in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) for allegedly having an affair with a general’s daughter.

Congolese President Joseph Kabila has expressed his condolences, and there are likely to be large events paying homage in the coming days.

Congolese Culture Minister Baudouin Banza Mukalay called Papa Wemba’s death a “great loss for the country and all of Africa”, AP reported.

Sonia is the heart and the artist of the team. She loves art and all that it implies. As Sonia says, good music, a well directed movie, or attending a music or film festival melts people’s heart and make them better. She is great at painting and photography. Working on scrapbooks is her favorite activity.