© 2013 Womad Ltd
Company Reg. No. 2734599
Place of registration : England
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From Congo Dem. Rep.
In a coup with which the WOMAD organisers can feel justly proud, this years WOMAD Festival at Rivermead, Reading features not one but two all time legends of African music.Papa Wemba began his career in the rough and tumble world of downtown Kinshasa, capital of what was then Zaire. He was a founder member of the iconoclastic Zaiko Langa Langa who took the older gentler afro-rhumba of the 50s and 60s and injected it with a bit of sex, drugs and rocknroll to arrive at a meaner, leaner, heavier version known as soukous which has since become the dominant pop sound in Africa.Wemba moved to Paris in the mid eighties and proceeded to live two parallel lives, one as world music star releasing slickly produced records like Le Voyageur (1992) and Emotion on Real World Records for western audiences and another as the frontman of Wenge Musica pumping out raw soukous for African audiences. Wembas eye for sartorial elegance and penchant for high-class French, Italian and Japanese designer fashion has earned him the soubriquet of best dressed man in African pop and roi des sapeurs.All of that pales into insignificance when set alongside the power of his music and anybody who saw him on TV a few years ago singing a lullaby for the victims of war, a cappella in the ruins of the bombed-out Opera house in Luanda, Angola, will know that a few bars of Wemba is worth more than anything Giorgio Armani or Yogi Yamamoto could ever hope to design.July 2000