Covid-19: Cameroonian Jazz Star Dibango Dies

Cameroonian jazz, Afrobeat, Afrofunk and African Rumba singer real name Emmanuel N’Djoké Dibango famously known as Manu Dibango is dead.

The 86-Year-old legendary African Jazz star, well known for his ‘Soul Makosa’ soundtrack, died Tuesday in Paris, France due to the complications from the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Dibango follows another renowned African Soukous singer Aurlus Mabele who also died of the pandemic having suffered from other complications including throat cancer and stroke.

His fellow singers have continued to praise him through their condolence messages saying he was the greatest saxophonist and singer the world has ever had.

Notably is Beninese jazz and soul singer Angelique Kidjo who posted on social media a video of herself rehearsing with Dibango and captioned, “Dear Manu Dibango, you have always been there for me from my beginnings in Paris to this rehearsal just 2 months ago! You are the original Giant of African Music and a beautiful human being. This coda of Soul Makossa is for you!”

Angelique Kidjo’s tweet

He was a member of the seminal Congolese rumba group, African Jazz and is remembered for having done music projects with various musicians all over the world including Fania All Stars, Fela Kuti, Herbie Hancock, Bill Laswell, Bernie Worrell, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, King Sunny Adé, Don Cherry, and Sly and Robbie among others.

The singer was on spot way back in is 2009 when he filed a lawsuit claiming that Michael Jackson used the ‘Mama-say, mama-sa, ma-ma-ko-ssa’ hook in ‘Wanna be starting Something’ song without his permission.

He further accused Rihanna for using a line from the same 1972 ‘Soul Makosa’ track which she used in her ‘Don’t Stop the Music’ hit.


Later on, Michael Jackson admitted to have borrowed the line for ‘Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ and opted to settle their differences out of court.

Dibango is also remembered for having served as the first chairman of the Cameroon Music Corporation, with a high profile in settling disputes about artists’ royalties and after which, he was appointed a UNESCO Artist for Peace in 2004.

In 2015, he was honored in France with the title ‘Special Representative of Francophonia’ to the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Since 1968 to 2020, the saxophonist had a couple of albums to his name including Big Blow, Soul Makosa, Lion of Africa and Aloko party among others.

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