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Latest Update 14 May 2012
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On this page, all news items are archived.
Chronological news:  
14-05-2012: Senegalese singer songwriter Seydina insa Wade died.
Seydina insa Wade was born in 1948 in Medina, Dakar as a son of an imam. He studied islam, but secretly played contrabass in the Rio Sextet in 1964. In 1966, he participated in the FESTAC in Dakar, where he sang a folk song in Wolof, just accompanying with his guitar. In the following decades he worked with a variety of bands, among others with Xalam 1 and Xalam 2. He recorded several solo albums such as « Yoff » (1985) and « Xalima » (2004), and was active in theater and storytelling. Seydina was known for being politically engaged. He died on 9 May after a period of illness.
Seydina insa Wade

03-08-2011: Former Maroon Commandos foreman Habel Kifoto died.
On 31 July, Habel Kifoto died alledgedly from heart failure. Habel Kifoto was guitarist, composer, singer and bandleader of the army band Maroon Commandos from the early days in 1970 until his retirement in 2002. Until his death he was the chairman of the Music Copyright Society of Kenya.
The Maroon Commandos were popular for their Kenyan version of rumba, one of their well-known songs is « Charonyi ni Wasi ». The band still exists and is currently lead by David Kombo.
Habel Kifoto

03-08-2011: Influential Guinean guitar hero Kante Manfila died at the age of 65.
On 20 July, Manfila Kanté died in Paris. Manfila, often referred to as Kanté Manfila, born in 1946 in Farabanah, has been an extremely influential guitar player who was one of the first to play the guitar as the balafon.
His worked during several decades with Salif Keita both in the Ambassadeurs as in his later solo work, such as the much acclaimed album « Moffou ». In addition, Manfila made several solo albums, such as « Musicale mandingue », « Tradition », « Ni Kanu » and « N'na niwale ».
Manfila Kanté

14-07-2011: Guinean singer Sekouba Fatako has died.
According to various Guinean press websites, Fula singer Sekouba Fatako Kouyaté has died last Monday (11 July 2011).
Fatako was a popular singer, his songs were loved for their lyrics, and people loved to dance on hit songs as « Sayata Yetho ». May his soul rest in peace.
Sekouba Fatako

30-04-2011: Congolese singer of Zaiko fame Bimi Ombale died on 29 April.
Bimi Ombale " Biandy ", whose real name is André Bimi Ombale Mwana Wabi had been ill for a while, and he died last Friday in the Ngaliema hospital in the Congolese capital. Bimi Ombale was born in 1952, and started as a drummer with Zaiko Langa Langa as early as in 1969. After a while he became a singer in Zaiko along singers Jossart Nyoka Longo, Evoloko Joker, Papa Wemba, Mavuela Somo, and Efonge Gina. He made fame as composer of various success songs of the band, such as « Elima ngando », « Joliba », « Lisapo », and « Sandra Lina ». Bimi left in 1988 with breakaway Zaiko Familia Dei. He later created Basilique Loningisa and eventually turned to religious music.
Bimi Ombale

25-04-2011: Congolese singer Debaba died in the night from 23 to 24 April.
Debaba El Shahab, whose real name is Claude Dieka Mbaki suffered a cardiovascular accident a few days before, after release from hospital he had a heart attack at home again that turned out to be fatal. He died in the Clinique Ngaliema in Kinshasa, months before he would turn 50. Born on 12 October 1961 in Kinshasa, he started singing in Historia Musica with Koffi Olomide, continued in Viva la Musica and subsequently in Choc Stars next to Defao, Ben Nyamabo and Carlyto Lassa. He has recorded a few solo albums. Since the early 90s he turned to religious music.

20-01-2011: Mali's top notch guitar player of the 1980's, Zani Diabaté died.
Zani Diabaté suffered from a stroke on 9 December when entering a studio in Paris. Although rumours were loud that he had died the same day in hospital, he turned out to be in a deep coma, and finally passed away on 4 January 2011. Zani was in the Ballet National du Mali from 1963, then co-founded the Super Djata Band in 1969, together with Alou Fané and Daouda "Flani" Sangaré. He was sometimes labelled as the Jimi Hendrix of Mali and was indeed a guitar wizard. Since a few years he was director of the National Ballet du Mali and played only occasionally.
Zani Diabate
Picture: Aboubacar Siddikh (March 1999)

14-12-2010: One of Tanzania's most famous musicians Remmy Ongala died.
Congolese born Remmy Ongala died after a period of diabetis-related illness in the night of 12 December at the Regency Hospital in Dar es Salaam. Born from a Tanzanian mother and Congolese father in 1947, he had played in various local band until he moved to Kenya and soon after to Tanzania and joined Orchestre Makassy. Around 1980, he joined Matimila which was transformed into Super Matimila. In 1988, a European and American tour opened doors and with the help of WOMAD and the Real World label, he recorded a few albums and became known internationally. His Ubongo Beat (Ubongo meaning brains) was a popular mix of Congolese and swahili rhythms. His lyrics were often about poverty, death. In latest years, he converted to gospel music.
Remmy Ongala

9-6-2010: Gabonese afrozouk singer Oliver N'Goma left us far too soon.
Oliver N'Goma died of kidney failure in the night of 6 to 7 June 2010 in Libreville, the capital of Gabon. After first steps in music, he started working for the Gabonese State television as cameraman. In 1988, he was sent to France for training. In Paris, he met with other musicians and eventually Ray Lema decided to help and produce a first album. The title song became after a while a hugh success throughout Africa and the Westindies, mainly due to the fact that Panafrican radio station Africa No.1 played the song extensively.
Oliver N'Goma

4-6-2010: Malian bluesman Lobi Traoré died at 49.
Lobi Traoré died on 1 June 2010 in Bamako. He was only 49 years old, and the cause of death is unknown. Lobi was from the Segou region, the mainland of the Bambara, and the Bambara music with its earthy and powerful sound was very close to what is referred to as blues. His albums were critically acclaimed by the international press. In the following years, he played with Bonnie Rait, Damon Albarn, French harmonica player Vincent Bucher, Dutch guitarist Joep Pelt among others. A forthcoming album is yet to be released. Lobi left a wife and four children.
Lobi Traore

9-11-2009: Africa loses one of its prominent drummers, Valérie Lobé.
Pierre Valéry Lobé Bekombo died during a concert in Konstanz, Germany on Friday 6 November 2009. The Cameroonian drummer played drums for various artists and bands, and recorded on countless albums of not only Cameroonian, but also Congolese and West-African artists. He can be seen as a true panafrican artist. Apart from drumming, he composed and played guitar as well. May his soul rest in peace!
Valerie Lobe

10-5-2009: Bye Coumba!
One of the best female Wassoulou singers from the South of Mali, Coumba Sidibé, has passed away in New York on the 9th of May, 2009. She sang with the Ensemble Instrumental du Mali in the 1970s, and started a solo career in the 1980s, and recorded a few albums throughout the late 1980s and 1990s.
With her deep and earthy voice, her albums and stage performances were loved, although she never got the deserved level of acclaim outside of Mali.

Album cover 'Mansa'

R.I.P Miriam Makeba 4 March 1932 - 9 November 2008
(you can see here the song Pata Pata live 1979, with appearance of her grand daughter Zenzi)

21-09-2007: Gambian salsero Laba Sosseh, a.k.a. la Voz Africana or El Maestro died at the age of 64 in the early morning of 20 September 2007 in a Dakar clinic
He has been ill since a few years. Sosseh has sung in the 1960s in the African Jazz Band, and in the 1960s and 1970s in the Star Band de Dakar of which he was one of the founding fathers. He was one of the first to receive an African Golden Record. More recently, he had worked with Africando.

Laba Sosseh

13-8-2007: Congolese star singer and band leader Jean Bialu Madilu a.k.a. Madilu System has died of a heart attack on Saturday morning 11 August 2007 in Kinshasa.
Madilu, who alledgedly suffered from diabetis and hypertension, left a legacy of a long musical career. He worked with Pepe Kallé and Franco. After Franco's death, he left the T.P.O.K. Jazz and started a solo career. His last album « Bonne humeur » was released earlier this year.


10 October 2008: SOIREE Senegalaise
Venue: the Melkweg, Amsterdam. With Issa Sow & Goree, BQ, Baby Fatim
Issa Sow video
Bqsokone Myspace
Baby Fatime Myspace

24 May 2007: Zani Diabaté & Benkadi International in concert
Venue: Tropentheater Grote Zaal (Amsterdam)

12 October 2006: Douk Saga died on 12 October 2006 of tuberculosis, following a period of protracted illness.
More information: external link

27 May 2006: Concert and CD presentation of Benkadi International feat. Zani Diabate
Saturday 27 May, Grand Theatre, Grote Markt, Groningen 21.00h
Line up: Idrissa Magassa: vocal and percussion, Zoumana Diarra: solo guitar, Richard Has: bass, Bas Blanken: guitar, Dramane Diarra: drums, Mamour Seck: percussion. Special guest: Zani Diabaté

17 May 2006: Veteran benga musician, Daniel Owino Misiani, died in a road accident in Kisumu on Wednesday 17 May
A minibus was coming from Riat Hills in Mamboleo when the driver lost control and rammed into the stationery van, which had stopped at a police roadblock. Misiani, born in Shirati, Tanzania, launched his musical career after moving into Kenya in the early 1960s. While his early recordings featured the acoustic guitar, he switched to the electric guitar and formed Shirati Jazz in 1967. In the 1970s, D.O. Misiani and Shirati Jazz ranked among the most successful musical groups in Kenya.

15 May 2006: Cheikha Rimitti, the legendary rai music star, died Monday, 15th May, victim of a heart attack.
The 'Mother of Rai' was 83 years old. She just released a new album before her death.

7 March 2006: Malian blues guitarist Ali Farka Touré died
African star blues guitarist Ali Farka Toure died on Tuesday 7 March in Bamako. A great monument of African music and a cultural ambassador of Malian and African culture passed away. Ali received two Grammy Awards for the albums Talking Timbuktu and In the Heart of the Moon, a joint recording with Toumani Diabaté
For further readings:
BBC news item
BBC obituary

24 October 2005: US tour of Nawal (Comoros)
more info...

October 2005: First European tour of Ekankan (Senegal)
and special guest singer Souleymane Faye with first concert dates in the Netherlands and Switzerland cancelled more info...

June 2005: Cameroonian singer-composer Cyril Effala died on 9 June 2005.
He was only 35 years old. He made two albums, Black against White and Masque but is known among Cameroonians for his song Mr. l'Abbé

19 April 2005:

Malian musicians try to stop the sales of pirated cassettes themselves as the Government of Mali is not taking sufficient action

16 March 2005:

Belgian authorities detain African star musician Bassekou Kouyaté

15 March 2005:

Piracy of cassettes and CDs force Mali K7 and Seydoni Mali to close their doors!

March 2005:

First European tour of Haira Arby and Bassekou Kouyaté with concert dates in Holland and Belgium tour data...

21 January-3 February 2005:

First European tour of Daniel O. Misiani & Shirati Jazz with concert dates in Holland and Germany tour data...

16 January 2005:

Young Senegalese mbalax singer Ndongo Lo died

13 December 2004:

Read all the Kora Awards here...

12 December 2004:

The yearly Kora Awards ceremony takes place for the ninth time, at the Sandton Convention Centre in South Africa. Among the 103 nominated African artists are Chantal Taiba, Kamaldine and 8 years old Madson Junior.

12 December 2004:

8 year old boy nominated for the Kora Awards in South Africa. Read more...

2 - 4 December 2004:

2nd Frikyiwa Festival in the Cotton Club, Paris, with on
2 December: Baye Coly (Senegal, saxophone) and Bachir Sanogo (Burkina Faso, kamelen n'goni)
3 December: Hadja Kouyate; Ramata Doussou;
4 December: Ali Boulo Santo; Aïssata Baldé (Senegal).

20 November 2004:

Concert by Odemba OK Rumba Allstars (with Dizzy Mandjeku, Decca, Gege, Djo Mali, Malage de Lugendo and Nana & Baniel) in the Royal Tropical Institute Theater in Amsterdam. Read about the concert here

13 August 2004:

Beninese Africando singer Gnonnas Pedro died of cancer.

10 May 2004:

South African pop star Brenda Fassie dies.

8 February 2004:

Grammy Award for Cesaria Evora.

6 December 2003:

The 2003 All Africa Kora Awards.

4 December 2003:

African artists among Grammy Awards nominees.

1 December 2003:

Festival Planète Frikyiwa in Paris (3-6 December 2003).

17 July 2003:

Baaba Maal's kora player Kawding Cissoko died at age of 38. Read more...

15 June 2003:

Death of Momo Wandel Soumah (Guinea).

21 March 2003:

Pap Touray died in Banjul.

8 March 2003:

Youssou N'Dour cancels US tour as a protest against Iraq war. Read more...

19 February 2003:

Papa Wemba arrested in Paris.

25 December 2002:

Malian diva Mokontafe Sacko died.

12 December 2002:

Prince Claus Award for Youssou N'Dour.

31 October 2002:

Salif Keita US tour nearly completed.

15 October 2002:

Orchestra Baobab in Dutch album charts.

9 October 2002:

Dutch prince had plans for Sahel opera.

November 2001:

UNESCO International Music Council Award for Oumou Sangaré

November 3, 2001:

Kora All Africa Music Awards in Sun City, South Africa

May 28, 2001:

Francis Bebey, nestor of African music, died.

December 2000:

The 2000 World Music Charts: Geoffrey Oryema, Amadou & Mariam under the first 10 nominees.

February 2000:

Release of the new Youssou N'Dour album Joko!
album cover Joko

the first three nominees are from West Africa (Baaba Maal, Habib Koité and Africando).

November 30, 1998:

Pépé Kallé died of a heart attack on Sunday morning 29 November 1998.

November 24, 1998:

The Cameroonian artist Pierre Tchana died from complications after brain surgery. Pierre Tchana was very successful during past decades with his Cameroonian version of salsa music.

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