Sunday, February 14, 2016

RIP Tabu Ley Rochereau, "The Voice of Lightness"

The King of Congolese Rumba passes away.

RIP Tabu Ley Rochereau, "The Voice of Lightness"


Tabu Ley Rochereau, the soukous pioneer known as the "King of Congolese Rumba" who was one of Africa's most beloved musicians, died on Saturday in a hospital in Brussels.

The singer born Pascal-Emmanuel Sinamoyi Tabu in what was then the Belgian Congo in 1937 (or 1940, depending on the source) had been ill since suffering a stroke in 2008. The leader of Orchestre Afrisa International was an innovative bandleader whose melllfluous sound melded African, Cuban and Caribbean rhythms, and he sang in an effortlessly airy tenor dubbed "The Voice of Lightness."  

Tabu Ley's music is available on hundreds of LPs - I just picked up a great one on vinyl last wekend called Ley, Ley, Seigneur Ley Rochereau at Beautiful World Syndicate in South Philadelphia last weekend, in fact. It's also expertly collected in two double CD collections of the Sterns Africa label called The Voice of Lightness: Congo Classics. A 16 song Spotify playist put together by Paul O'Sullivan that was posted by Sterns yesterday is below, as is a video of the musician, who also had a political career, performing in Zaire in 1974 with fellow African superstar Franco.

Previously: Frank Turner at Main Street Music Follow In the Mix on Twitter

Inquirer Music Critic
We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy: comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog

Join Dan as he blogs about music and other forms of popular culture

Reach Dan at

Dan DeLuca Inquirer Music Critic