11 things you don’t know about Papa Wemba


11 things you don’t know about Papa Wemba.

  • Born June 14, 1949 in Lubefu, DRC.
  • Date of death : April 24, 2016 in Abidjan

Legend of Congolese music, Papa Wemba is a musician, singer, songwriter and pillar of Congolese rumba.

  • 1/ Papa Wemba’s real name is Jules Shungu Wembadio Pene Kikumba.

He was born on June 14, 1949 in Lubefu in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

  • 2/ Jules Presley is his first artist name.

Inspired by Elvis Presley, Papa Wemba’s first stage name in his early days was Jules Presley. 

  • 3/ Papa Wemba has 13 children from different mothers.
  • 4/ He was a member of a religious choir. 

Papa Wemba was a member of a religious choir of the Ecole Pigier in Kinshasa. Thanks to this training, he developed his magnificent voice.

  • 5/ Papa Wemba was the son of a mourner who interpreted funeral songs. 

The Congolese musician’s mother is a professional mourner. She performed funeral melodies during the funeral. This profession exists in various African and Asian countries.  

  • 6/ Papa Wemba is the ambassador of Sape in France.

Nicknamed the “pope” of sapology, Wemba is a pioneer of the Congolese sapology movement in France and Africa.

  • 7/ He has acted in films as an actor. 

Papa Wemba played in “La vie est belle”, “Combat de fauves” in the dramatic film by Marc-Henri Wajnberg.

  • 8/ Papa Wemba did 3 months in prison.

Congolese singer served 3 and a half months in prison in France, as he was accused of setting up an illegal immigration network. This passage of his life is explained in the song “numéro d’écrou”. 

  • 9/ He is the second Congolese artist to have signed with an international label Real World. 

After Tabu Ley Rochereau, Papa Wemba also signed with the Real World Label. 

  • 10/ Founder of Molokai village.

In 1977, he founded the village of Molokaï in Kinshasa. This village has 5 avenues Masimanimba, Oshwe, Lokolama, Kanda-Kanda and Inzia. 

  • 11/ Composer of a song for the Red Cross with Youssou N’Dour. 

In 1997, he composed with Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour a song for the Red Cross.  

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