Curtain falls on Zaiko Langa Langa ex-drummer Meridjo Belobi

Former Zaiko Langa Langa drummer Meridjo Belobi (Jean-Marie Belobi Ngekerme), who died at a hospital in Belgium on August 27, 2020. 

What you need to know:

  • The 70-year-old, who was one of the band’s leading drummers for many years, is best remembered for being among those who revolutionised  the fast drum beat style popularly known as “Cavacha” .
  • Paris-based crooner Nyboma Mwandido said they learnt of Meridjo’s death through some of their counterparts living in Belgium.
  • When the star studded band split in 1988, with two factions led by Nyoka Longo (Zaiko Nkolo Mboka) and Bimi Ombale  (Zaiko Familia Dei), Meridjo stuck with Nyoka Longo.

The Congolese music scene is mourning the death of legendary former Zaiko Langa Langa band drummer Meridjo Belobi (Jean-Marie Belobi Ngekerme) at a hospital in Belgium on Thursday.

The 70-year-old, who was one of the band’s leading drummers for many years, is best remembered for being among those who revolutionised  the fast drum beat style popularly known as “Cavacha” .

To his fans in Kinshasa, he also earned the stage name “Machine ya Kauka” (Kauka Train), having grown up in the Kauka region of the vast DR Congo capital.

Another leading proponent of the fast drum music style was Seskain Molenga, who played drums with Tabu Ley’s Afrisa International Band.

Speaking to the Nation on Thursday, Paris-based crooner Nyboma Mwandido said they learnt of Meridjo’s death through some of their counterparts living in Belgium.

“We are awaiting funeral arrangements from family members and others in Belgium who hinted that he succumbed to a heart condition, “ he  said.

Performances

During his time with the Zaiko, founded by DV Moanda), Meridjo played alongside other legends such as Nyoka Longo, Papa Wemba, Evoloko Joker, Bimi Ombale, Mavuela Somo, Mbuta Matima, Felly Manuaku, Likinga  Redo, Oncle Bapius, Ilo Pablo, Lengi Lenga and Zamuangana Enoch.

When the star studded band split in 1988, with two factions led by Nyoka Longo (Zaiko Nkolo Mboka) and Bimi Ombale  (Zaiko Familia Dei), Meridjo stuck with Nyoka Longo.

Until his death, Meridjo had been associating closely with his longtime counterpart Bapius, with whom he performed live in Belgium after forming a group.

Some of  Meridjo’s well known compositions while with Zaiko include “Ben Betito”, “Matondo”, “Kikwiti” and “Sangela”.

Back home,  most radio and TV stations have dedicated sessions to the legendary drummer.

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