News World African jazz legend Manu Dibango dies from coronavirus in France

African jazz legend Manu Dibango dies from coronavirus in France

World-famous singer and saxophonist Manu Dibango has died from a coronavirus infection at the age of 86 in France, his management team said on Tuesday.

“It is with deep sadness that we announce the loss of Manu Dibango, our Papy Groove, who passed away on March 24, 2020, at 86 years old, further to Covid 19,” read a statement on Dibango’s Facebook page.

Cameroon-born Dibango arrived in France in the early 1950s and studied jazz and saxophone in the northern city of Reims, where he started playing in clubs, according to a biography on his Facebook page.

Dibango died early Tuesday morning in a hospital in the Paris region, Thierry Durepaire, a member of the artist’s management team, told Reuters.

In the early 1960s, his style of playing took on more African rhythms as he collaborated with Brussels-based musicians from Congo and he began touring in Africa, developing his trademark pumping saxophone rhythms.

“Sax is sexy. I play other instruments too, but my voice sounds best through a saxophone,” Dibango – who also played piano, organ and vibraphone – told French music programme Basique last year.

In the late 1960s, Dibango started his own band, played with a string of French musicians and in 1972 he had a major hit with “Soul Makossa”, a song that brought him international success and was reinterpreted by many other artists.

In 2009, Dibango filed a lawsuit in a Paris court against the producers of Michael Jackson for using the “Mamase, mamasa, makossa” riff from Soul Makossa. The riff became world-famous through Jackson’s hit “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'”. The case was later settled out of court.

In an interview in 2019, Dibango said the song was now there for all to use. “It has moved beyond me. It is good in a way, once a song becomes a standard, it no longer belongs to the composer but to the person who interprets it,” he said.

On Dibango’s 1992 album Wakafrika, produced in France, he reinterpreted a string of African hits and played with top African stars including Youssou N’dour, King Sunny Adé, Salif Keïta, Angélique Kidjo and Papa Wemba, as well as British rock singers Peter Gabriel and Sinéad O’Connor.

In 2010, Dibango received the “legion d’honneur” medal in his adopted country France. He was diagnosed with a coronavirus infection earlier this month.

Last year, on the sidelines of a tour celebrating 60 years on stage, he said jazz music needed to have a danceable beat .

“We are the leg specialists, things have to move, that is how I see music,” he said.


Top Stories

Man pays 22 thousand fine for trapping and killing dozens of ambelopoulia

  Α sixty three year old poacher in the Nicosia district was fined 22 thousand four hundred euro for illegally trapping and killing 68 songbirds...

26 covid patients at Famagusta General

  Twenty six patients suffering from coronavirus are currently being treated at the Famagusta General, the referral institution for covid-19, as the government is considering...

Low pressure system gradually brings rain (not weekend), as temperatures drop

  A low pressure system is gradually affecting the area, as rain is expected over the next four days, (but not the weekend) with temperatures...

Strong quake kills 24 people in Turkey and 2 in Samos

  Twenty four people were killed in Turkey and two in Greece after a strong earthquake struck the Aegean Sea on Friday, bringing buildings crashing...

166 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday

The Health Ministry announced 166 new COVID-19 cases on 30 October, out of 3,672 laboratory tests, taking confirmed infections to 4,217. The break-down of new...


Squash soup

Ingredients: 1 kg pumpkin, cut into small cubes, approximately 5 cups 2 medium (400g) sweet potatoes, cut into cubes, approximately 2 ½ cups 1 chopped leek, only...


No visit to Cyprus is complete without enjoying the traditional meal of many small dishes known as ‘meze’. This large feast, which has been a...

Prawns with fried cheese, barley shaped pasta

Put the barley shaped pasta into a small pan with salted water, bring to a boil and when tender, drain. Peal the prawns leaving...

Salmon and shrimp sheftalies

Mix all ingredients for tabbouli in a bowl and keep to one side so flavours can combine. Prepare the sheftalies: wash and soak the casing...