Funeral arrangements for guitarist Lokassa ya Mbongo

Congolese guitarist and composer Denis Lokassa ya Mbongo. 

Congolese guitarist and composer Denis Lokassa ya Mbongo. 

Photo credit: Pool

The funeral arrangements for the legendary Congolese guitarist Denis Kasiya Lokassa ya Mbongo, who died earlier this week in the USA, are ongoing.

His former colleagues are liaising with well-wishers, fans and family members for the preliminary funeral arrangements in Nashua, New Hampshire.

What has been key was the possibility of either having his body flown back home to DR Congo or having it buried in the USA.

Speaking to Saturday Nation on Thursday, Balia Ngonda, a Congolese national living in Nashua, said they have started having meetings as they await to incorporate others.

 “We will be able to know where he will be buried depending on the support from within USA and outside,” he said.

Lokassa’s body is currently lying at a funeral home in Nashua.

He had been battling diabetes and a mild stroke he suffered in 2017.

Some of Lokassa’s children live in Europe while the rest of his family members are back home in DR Congo. The seasoned guitarist and composer who died aged 80 spent a greater part of his later musical career outside Congo.

As his fellow US-based Congolese musician Mekanisi Modero pointed out, Lokassa had longed to return to his homeland. This was before he was taken ill about six years ago.

Modero was Lokassa’s counterpart in Tabu Ley Rochereau’s Afrisa Internationa from 1970  until 1978 when Lokassa left to form the session All African Stars band.

Later Lokassa moved to France in the mid-1980s where he was at the forefront of the formation of the Soukous stars band.

“He was arguably one of

DRC’s and, indeed, Africa’s best rhythm guitarists, specialising in the up-tempo Soukous style,» Modero said.

Also living in the same state is singer Wawali Bonane of Afrisa International.

Lokassa and was among those who broke the sad news.

Another fellow Congolese musician, Ngouma Lokito, who lives in New York, has been liaising with others on Lokassa’s funeral arrangements.

 Lokassa will be remembered for some of his popular compositions such as Monica, Marie-Josse and Bonne Annee.


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