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Empire Bakuba & Pépé Kallé
(Congo-Kinshasa)
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Empire Bakuba has been the band that was brought to fame by the late singer Pépé Kallé. This giant singer (he was 2m10 tall and about 150kgs) has been, together with Dilu Dilumona and Matolu Dode Papy Tex, the pivotal leading figure within this band. Kallé started to sing in a church choir as so many other Congolese singers. Soon, his talent was recognised and and after having sung in various school bands, he started to compose songs for other artists who were then successful. In 1966, he joined Papa Noel's "Le Bamboula", and he also worked with Madilu System and Bozi Boziana. Around 1968, he and Papy Tex created l'Orchestre African Choc. They later joined other bands, Orchestre le Mysotis and Bella Bella, until Seskain Molenga, drummer of Afrisa, asked them to participate in a new outfit, Bakuba. This was actually the starting point of a winning team «Kadima» (Kalle, Dilu and Matolu), remaining the core of band over years. The band was soon renamed into Empire Bakuba, in reminiscence of an old empire in present West Kasai Province.
Since then, Empire Bakuba remained successful for years, without really changing its style in music. Their live shows were full of energy, both the giant Kallé and the dwarf Emoro danced to enchant the public. Guitarists like Diblo Dibala and Kinanga "Boeing 737" were part of the band, and there were many occasional co-productions, for instance with Tabu Ley, Nyboma, Simaro.
Pépé Kallé died in 1998 of a heart attack. Soon after, Papy Tex was seriously injured in a traffic accident in Brussels. These two events lead to popular belief that Empire Bakuba was no more. But after having spend more than a year in a hospital, Papy Tex slowly recovered. In October 1999, he was inaugurated by the traditional chief of the Bakuba tribe in the Kasaï province as the new leader of Empire Bakuba. Since then, only a few albums were released. Kinanga left to create Empire Fondation, Godé Lofombo left to continue with Delta Force and Dilu Dilumona left in 2003. Papy Tex is now the sole band leader of Empire Bakuba.

Pépé Kallé is born: 30 November 1951, as Jean Kabasele Yamanya wa ba Mulanga, in Kinshasa. He died 28 November 1998, also in Kinshasa
Empire Bakuba has been formed: in the mid 1970s by Kallé, Dilu Dilumona, and Papy Tex.
Style: soukous

Discography:

Title Year Label Remarks
Papy Tex & Likinga:
Mon bébé 2002? Clarys Music
Fondation Empire Bakuba:
Sauvetage 2001 JPS Production CDJPS 154
Empire Bakuba / Papy Tex:
Flash 2004 Solfège Universel Production 2CD
Empire Bakuba / Pepe Kalle:
Gardez votre souffle 2007 CD reissue with bonus DVD
Johnny Bitoto 2004 Ngoyarto NG087
Sango Ya Mawa 2003 Ngoyarto NG086
La naissance de l'Orchestre: Nazoki 2003 Ngoyarto NG085
Young Africa 1999 EXW 0002122
Souvenirs 1999 Syllart
The Best of Pepe Kalle 1999 BMG-Milan tracks from CD 70051-2/CD 65054/CD 65050
Les plus grands succès: "Zabolo" 1998 Ngoyarto NG052 Early recordings
Cocktail 1998 Ets. Ndiaye/ Sonodisc CD79815
Best of... 1998 Syllart Most tracks from SYL 8324/ 38752/ 38113
Full Option 1997 Babi Production With Papy Tex
Souci ya Likinga 1997 Flash FDB 300238 (EPP10) Reissue of LP Kagi Production 086 (1986)
Merci Maman 1997 B-Mass BMP 970095
Loin des yeux, Dieu seul sait 1997 Flash Distribution FDB 300035
Wasiwa 1996 Sonodisc CDS 7006 With Papy Tex
Welcome in Africa 1996 Babi/Jimmy's BOP015 With Papy Tex
Savoir vivre 1995 B-Mass BMP 950063 Also 50474-2
Gardez votre souffle 1995 SUN Records
Atinze Muana Popi 1993 Sonodisc CD 65054 Reissue of LP BB 002 (1989)
Divisé par deux 1993 Sonodisc CD 65050 Reissue of LP BB 012 (around 1990)
Poto Malili: Kinshasa Moto! Moto! 1993 Musicanova MUS1003
Mamie (music clarification) 1993 Gefraco/Kaluila KL067 (CD 70070-2)
Feux d'artifice 1992 Sonodisc CDS 5505 With Tabu Ley
Hommage à Emoro 1992 Syllart 38117-2 With Nyboma and Bopol Mansiamina
- Compilation CD of Pepe Kalle Zouke Zouke (SYL 8324) and Bakuba Show (SYL 8338) and a 1986 album of Bopol Mansiamina
Larger than Life 1992 Stern's STCD 1038 Reissue of Gerant
Gerant 1991 Syllart 38113-2
Le tube de vos vacances: Liya Liya Faina 1991 SIMS/Sonodisc CD 49908
Gigantafrique 1990 Globestyle CDORB 062
L'argent ne fait pas le bonheur 1990 Gefraco/Kaluila KLCD032 LP from 1988
Mavuela Somo & Pepe Kalle 1990 MDL 301 With Mavuela Somo
Stop feu rouge - voisin 1990 Bleu Cara´bes 82804 With Nyboma, Madilu & Simaro
- Compilation CD of Nyboma & Madilu Stop feu rouge-voisin and Pepe Kalle chante le poète Simaro (JM Production 91080)
Show times 1989 MA 4034
Cé Chalé Carnaval 1989 Afrorythmes 31001-1/ AR1012 LP
Pepe Kalle chante le poète Simaro 1989 JM Production 91080
Atinze Mwana Popi 1989 BB 002 LP
Pon Moun Paka Bougé 1988 Afrorythmes 45309-1 LP
Moyibi 1988 Syllart 38752-2 With Nyboma
Ya Moseka de l'Empire Bakuba 1988 SIC 002
Bakuba Show 1987 Syllart SYL 8338 LP also showing ref. number 8743
Sombokila 1987 Syllart SYL 8334
Blanche neige 1987 Rythmes et Musique REM 670 With Grand Zaiko Wa Wa
Nzoto ya chance/ 8 000 km 1987 Leader Records Repro 01 Sometimes refered to as Kwassa Kwassa
Joe Dikando 1987 LS 70
Livre d'or 1986 DV 001 Papy Tex with Empire Bakuba
Dans Massasy calculé à Abidjan 1986 LP ACMP 1001 Avec Emoro le nain danseur
Adieu Dr. Nico 1986 Sonodisc CD8040
Obosini Kisomele 1986 Syllart SYL 8322 (8730) LP
Allah 1986 Rythmes et Musique REM 550
Chérie Ondi 198? Editions Veve EVVI 45 LP
Tête africaine 1985 DK 006
Bombe atomique 1985 Mélodie 79512-2 Also Afro Rythmes 0999
Muana Bangui 1985 Rythmes et Musique REM 490 LP
Trop c'est trop 1985 Rythmes et Musique REM 410 LP
La Belle Etoile 1985 Rythmes et Musique REM 360 LP, also Patience (Veve EVVI 41, 1985)
Bonana 85 1985 PF 770 LP
Kabambare 1985 GM 1935
Amour propre 1984 Editions Veve EVVI 19 Also: Rythmes et Musique REM 260
Zabolo 1982 Rythmes et Musique REM 220 LP
Empire Bakuba & Nyboma:
Bakuba (Zouke Zouke) 1986 Syllart SYL 8324 (8724)

Thanks to Dolf Motz and Ronald Zee for their help in compiling this discography.


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