Legendary Rhumba maestro Kasongo wa Kanema set to be buried on Friday

Veteran Nairobi-based Congolese musician Kasongo wa Kanema on stage. PHOTO | COURTESY

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BY NAMULONGO PETER,NAIROBI,20TH APRIL,2020-Congolese legendary rhumba maestro  Kasongo wa Kanema, who collapsed and died on Tuesday last week, will be buried on Friday this week in Nairobi.

 Longwa Disco  who spoke to the Nation said the family had agreed to have him laid to rest at the Lang’ata cemetry this week.

Longwa Disco is a son to Longwa Didos, the former Super Mazembe Band leader who died in 2000.

“The family will give details of the funeral arrangements in due course to enable his fans and other well-wishers contribute towards his send-off,” he said.

Kasongo’s children, Chantal and Morris, are in charge of the funeral arrangements at his NHC residence in Langata.

The former singer and composer with the legendary Orch Super Mazembe band had been battling diabetes and hypertension and had suffered a stroke a few years ago.

Veteran Nairobi-based Congolese musician Kasongo wa Kanema on stage. PHOTO | COURTESY

Prior to joining the Super Mazembe band, Kasongo had performed with the legendary Baba Ilunga wa Illunga’s band where he did lead vocals on the ever popular household tune “Kakolole Viva Christmas” (composed by Lutulu Kanicky).

He later had stints with the splinter Orch Bwambe Bwambe alongside Tanzanian legend John Ngereza among others.

Kasongo joined Super Mazembe in 1978 where he teamed up with others like Longwa Didos, Lovy Longomba, Loboko Passie, Dodo Doris, Rapok Kayembe, Alley Katele and Bukalos wa Bukasa.

Some of the popular songs he took part in recording are South View, Kayembe, Atia Jo” and Mokano (his composition).

Australian-based Kenyan musician Okello Jose was among those who eulogised Kasongo, lauding his vocal prowess. Okello performed alongside Kasongo in Super Mazembe and later with the Ivory Band.

“We recorded several songs and performed both in Kenya and abroad,” he said.

This coming weekend Okello said they would dedicate a show to their fallen counterpart in Brisbane, Australia where he is based.

For Kenyan rhumba fans, the last week has been one of double tragedy with the death of veteran Kenyan musician Aziz Abdi of “Sina Kazi” and “Nyumbani ni Nyujmnai” hit songs amongst others.

Aziz, who was laid to rest on April 12 at his farm near Voi town, left a legacy of a musician who groomed others through his group Benga Africa and later Ngoma Afrika.

He incorporated some of the leading singers from the coast into some of his recordings like Mohammed Tika Abdallah, Freshley Mwamburi amongst others.

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