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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Papa Wemba 'King of congo music' dies on stage at 66

Papa Wemba, one of Africa’s greatest music stars, has died after collapsing on stage
during a festival in the Ivory Coast, the event organisers said Sunday.

Papa Wemba, who was known as the “king of Congolese rumba” for helping to bring the highly popular sound to an international audience, was 66. 

The flamboyant singer died shortly after after performing three songs at the Urban Musical Festival Anoumabo (FEMUA) in Abidjan, the organisers said. 

The FEMUA management expressed its “deep sorrow” at the death of a man who has been at the forefront of African music for more than four decades. 

Papa Wemba was born Jules Shungu Wembadio Pene Kikumba in June 1949 in what was then Belgian Congo. 

He began his singing career in religious choirs in which he developed his trademark high range voice, making his debut in the capital Kinshasa at the end of the 1960s. 

He inherited his love of song from his mother, who was a professional “wailing woman” at funerals.

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