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by World Music Network November 19, 2012


Tabu Ley Rochereau Receives Award

Congolese musical legend, Tabu Ley Rochereau is visiting Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo to accept an award honouring the contributions he has made to his home country's heritage and cultural diplomacy. 

Tabu Ley is one of Africa's most prolific songwriters and was a proponent of soukous style. He was born in Bandundu, Democratic Republic of Congo in 1954 and was musical from a young age - he wrote the song 'Bessama Muchacha' when he was just fourteen years old. Tabu Ley also sang the seminal hit 'Independence Cha Cha' which was hugely popular across Africa from 1960 onwards, and acted as an anthem for burgeoning indpendent states and movements. In 1970, after enjoying success as a member of Joseph Kabasele's 'Le Grand Kalle' and then in the group 'African Fiesta' with Dr Nico Kasanda, Tabu Ley formed his ensemble - Orchestre Afrisa International. 

Tabu Ley Rochereau

In addition to his musical career, Tabu Ley was a Cabinet Minister in 1997, and in 2005 was appointed Vice-Goverenor in charge of political, adminstrative and socio-cultural questions fo the city of Kinshasa. 

Presently he lives in Paris in order to recieve medical care after suffering from a mild stroke in 2009.  

The award ceremony coincides with Tabu Ley's birthday and he will be joined by other famous DRC musicians such as Sam Mangwana and Dino Vangu aka Guvano to celebrate the occassion.

Enjoy his golden voice on this vintage track, 'Independence Cha Cha':