Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Adieu "Papy Groove", Manu Dibango died due to covid-19

Afro-jazz star Manu Dibango died aged 86 on Tuesday March 24 after contracting the corona virus in a hospital in the Paris region. 

Manu live on tour 2019 (recorded at Mariac)


Cameroon born Manu Dibango, who was affectionately known as "Papy Groove" by his family & fans world wide, became one of the first African world stars through his 1972 hit Soul Makossa in the 70s. The song that became known around the world, had an astonishing fate. "Soul Makossa" started out as the B-side of a single, the A side "Hymne De La Coupe D'Afrique Des Nations" was an anthem for the Cameroonian football team at the African Cup of Nations. Spotted by a New York DJ, the track has touched thousand of lives. In 2009 Manu Dibango had accused Michael Jackson of plagiarism on "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin" a track from the album “Thriller” he used the "Mama-say, mama-sa, ma-ma-ko-ssa" hook without his permission. An out of court financial agreement was reached after long negotiations.



I saw him a few times live in different places, and at different times, but a truly memorable concert was his 80th Birthday celebration at The Barbican in London.

Manu Dibango Interview 



with Courtney Pine - Aye Africa

The last time I saw Manu live was at the Afrikafestival in 2018 and he still had an amazing presence for someone in his mid eighties, turning up and jamming with many other musicians & friends like Angelique Kidjo. Over his long career he was constantly reinventing his music as well as his signature hit:
He gave Soul Makossa a Reggae treatment:


But he was more than just a Makossa Man:

In 1973 he went: Africadelic

Ah! Freak Sans Fric




In 1977 we danced all night to Manus' Big Blow 

In 1994 he released "Wakafrica" an album collboratting with some of the biggest names in Pop and World Music like Peter Gabriel, Salif Keita, Angelique Kidjo & Papa Wemba
& Youssou N'Dour on a new version of his greatest hit:

He travelled 1998 to Cuba and recorded an album with Cuban musicians

and of course a Rhumba Makossa with Cuarteto Patria 

Or working with new musicians, which he helped to get international exposure.

Saw him in 2007 at the Fela Tribute in the Barbican with Courtney Pine

In his early years he moved to Brussels and played with Le Grand Kallé et l'African Jazz (also know as  Africa 60). Later in the 60s he formed his own orchestra and relocated back to Paris:


Live 2019 at Burghausen

Live in Dakar (Feat. Seun Anikulapo Kuti & Egypt 80 & Tony Allen)

Adieu pour toujours, Papa Groove!

Your many fans will truly miss you!

Obituaries:

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In the coming weeks I will update this post with more infos, concerts & tributes!
Don't forget I am always grateful for suggestions & comments!

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