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Tabu Ley Rochereau

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Tabu Ley Rochereau (Pascal Tabu, Bandundu, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 1940) is bandleader of Orchestre Afrisa International and one of Africa’s most influential vocalists and prolific songwriters.

Along with guitarist Dr Nico Kasanda, Tabu Ley pioneered soukous, the music that has delighted Africans for four decades. He internationalized his music by fusing elements of Congolese folk music with Cuban, Caribbean and Latin American rhumba.

In 1954 at the age of fourteen, Tabu Ley wrote his first song Bessama Muchacha which he recorded with Joseph “Grand Kalle” Kabasele’s band, African Jazz. After finishing high school he joined the band as a full time musician. Tabu Ley sang the pan-African hit Independence cha cha which was composed by Grand Kalle when Congo was declared an independent nation in 1960, propelling him to instant fame.

He remained with African Jazz until 1963 when he and Dr Nico Kasanda formed their own group, African Fiesta. Two years later, Tabu Ley and Dr. Nico split and Tabu Ley formed African Fiesta National, also known as African Fiesta Flash. The group became one of the most successful bands in African history, recording African classics like Afrika Mokili Mobimba, and surpassing record sales of one million copies by 1970. Papa Wemba and Sam Mangwana were among the many influential African musicians that were part of the group.
In 1970, Tabu Ley formed Orchestre Afrisa International. Along with Franco Luambo’s TPOK Jazz, Afrisa was now one of Africa’s greatest band. They recorded hits such as Sorozo, Kaful Mayay, Aon Aon and Mose Konzo.

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