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Papa Wemba

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Papa Wemba was born Jules Shungu Wembadio Pene Kikumba in 1949 in Lubefu (Kasai - DR Congo). He is a Congolese Soukous musician, one of Africa’s most popular musicians, and prominent in World music.

Papa Wemba was one of the very first musicians to join the influential Soukous band, Zaiko Langa Langa when it was created on December 24, 1969 in Kinshasa (Capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo) along with such well known Congolese musicians as Nyoka Longo Jossart, Manuaku Pepe Felly, Evoloko Lay Lay, Teddy Sukamu, Zamuangana Enock, Mavuela Simeon, and others.

In a Congolese musical world dominated at the time by Franco Luambo and his remarkable band TPOK Jazz, Tabu Ley Rochereau’s Afrisa, and by then-new musical groups like Les Grands Maquisards, Le Trio Madjesi, and even younger bands like Bella-Bella, Thu Zaina and Empire Bakuba, the young and talented Papa Wemba (then known as Jules Presley Shungu Wembadio), was one of the driving forces that by 1973 made Zaiko Langa Langa one of the most-performing dominant Congolese groups, featuring such popular numbers as “Chouchouna” (Papa Wemba), “Eluzam” and ” Mbeya Mbeya” (Evoloko Lay Lay), “BP ya Munu” (Efonge Gina) and “Zania” (Mavuela Somo).

In December 1974, at the pinnacle of their fame (and just a month after the Rumble in the Jungle between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in Kinshasa), Shungu Wembadio (Papa Wemba), along with Evoloko Lay Lay, Mavuela Somo and Bozi Boziana (who’d joined Zaiko Langa Langa a year earlier), left Zaiko Langa Langa to establish their own musical ensemble Isifi Lokole, ISIFI being an acronym for “Institut de Savoir Ideologique pour la Formation des Idoles.

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