Veteran Congolese singer Josky Kiambukuta dies at DRC hospital

Congolese musician Josky Kiambukuta

Veteran Congolese musician Josky Kiambukuta, who died in the DR Congo on March 7, 2021.

Photo credit: Courtesy

What you need to know:

  • According to close associates of the family, he died at Ngaliema Hospital, where he was taken a few days ago for a routine check-up following a case of fatigue.

Veteran Congolese singer Josky Kiambukuta Londa died at a hospital in Kinshasa, the DR Congo, after a long illness.

Josky, 72, was one of the few surviving members of the legendary TPOK Jazz.

According to close associates of the family, he died at Ngaliema Hospital, where he was taken a few days ago for a routine check-up following a case of fatigue.

Singer Erick Mpoyi and Hellen Winnie Arika, who are both close family friends, confirmed the news, saying they had been in touch with Josky's widow, Maman Sera.

The 72-year-old  singer, also known as “Le Commandant”, was one of the most prolific members of the TPOK Jazz ensemble that the legendary Luambo Luanzo Makiadi led for many years.

 His  illustrious musical career with TPOK Jazz dates back to 1974, when he was among the top vocalists in the DR Congo.

OK Jazz

Part of the OK Jazz during a past performance at Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi. At the centre is Josky Kiambukuta.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Popular songs

Josky’s popular compositions such as “KSK” and “Mabi’ have been trending on social media since the news of his death broke. His other popular songs include  “Bimansha”, “Chandra”, “Sincerite”, “Fariya” and “Missile”.

Some of those he sang alongside include Lola Checain, Djo Mpoyi, Ntesa Daliens, Wuta Mayi, Ndombe Opetum, Sam Mangwana and Madilu  System.

Speaking to the Nation on Sunday, veteran saxophone player and band leader Kiamuangana Mateta Verkys said funeral plans will be announced following consultations between the family and other musicians.

“We are saddened by the death of our counterpart, who was one of the greatest singers in DR Congo,“ he said.

He noted that after Franco’s death in 1989, Josky was a key member of the offshoot Bana OK band that was led by Lutumba Simaro, who died in 2019.

The mercurial singer was based in Europe for over 10 years, taking part in occasional shows and recordings.

Since his return to Kinshasa early in April  2019, for the funeral of Simaro Masiya, Josky focused on his family. He kept off the  stage due to ill-health.

The other surviving former members of the TPOK Jazz band are singers Prince Youlou Mabiala, Sam Mangwana,  Michel Boyibanda, Wuta Mayi, Lokombe, Malage De Ligendo and guitarists Nedule Papa Noel, Gege Mangaya and Dizzy Mandjeku.

OK Jazz

From left (front) Madilu System, Josky Kiambukuta and second-in-command Lutumba Simaro with other members of the OK Jazz in a picture taken in 1987.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Reactions

A special Josky tribute show was organised in August last year in Kinshasa, courtesy of Kenyan promoter Helen Winnie Arika.

On Sunday, veteran media personality Fred Obachi Machoka said he was saddened by news of Josky's death.

“I had just completed my Sunday radio show when I learnt of his death," he said.

Fans also took to social media to mourn the fallen rhumba icon.

Popular veteran rhumba disc jockey Sibuor Martin said, “Rest well, papa.”

Veteran journalist and rhumba fan John Machio eulogised Josky as “a great rhumba icon”

Others who eulogised the singer were Catherine Karanja, Steve Mwinamo, Ken Ontunga, John Machio, Dan Ochieng of Nairobi South B and Aziza Ishmael.


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