Pioneering musician Papa Wemba passed away at the age of 66 last night, after collapsing on stage during a performance at the Ivory Coast. Wemba was nicknamed the “King of Rumba,” and was one of the most popular musicians in Africa and the world music sound.
Born Jules Shungu Wembadio Pene Kikumba, Wemba was a cultural icon for the Congolese, and was an active musician since joining the Soukous band in 1969. His prolific catalog spans five decades and includes dozens of albums, pioneering his unique sound. While performing last night, Wemba suffered a seizure, and passed away hours later.
Let’s celebrate Wemba’s life with some of his glorious, reaffirming music, below: