What Made Papa Wemba So Influential?

Papa Wemba, or Jules Shungu Wembadio Pene Kikumba, was rebellious, prolific, a style icon, at times notorious and always innovative, who was well known as one of the pioneers of modern Congolese soukous music.

But he was very clear about how he wanted to be remembered, according to thesleeve notes from his 1995 album Emotion.

“When people talk about Papa Wemba, I don’t want them to say I am an African singer, or a world music singer,” he said. “I would like people to say just ‘singer’. Because that’s what I am. A singer. Full stop.”


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