Remembering Pepe Kalle 22 years on

Congolese musician Pepe Kalle Yampanya.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Arrangements are in place for fans and counterparts to next week mark the 22rd anniversary since the death of Congolese musician Pepe Kalle Yampanya.

The burly baritone voiced singer who collapsed and died on November 29, 1998 in Kinshasa will be remembered as one of the entertainment greats with his Grand Empire Band.

Most of his fans will remember him for some of his popular tunes like ‘Roger Milla’: (dedicated to Cameroonian soccer legend Roger Milla), ‘Moyibi’, ‘Pon Moun Paka Bouge’, ‘Bitoto’ and ‘Amour Pedre’.

Notably, he recorded several collaborations with his long-time counterpart Nyboma Mwandido, who lives in Paris, France. Both had performed together in the early 1970s in Kinshasa.

Though there are no special shows arranged due to the Covid-19 pandemic, some of his former band members including the Kinshasa-based Lofombo Godo will dedicate online shows to him. Lofombo, who is a bass guitarist and producer, also had a stint with the Delta Force band.

Most of the former band members of the Grand Empire Bakuba settled in Europe after Kalle’s death. Among them were Papy Tex (of the ‘Kanda ya Nini’ hit song fame), Elvis Kunku, Ebuya Doris Djuna Mumbafu and Kinanga Boeing.

Back home, fans of Pepe Kalle will also recall his efforts of incorporating dancers like Ayilla Emoro, Jolie Bebe and Dominic Mabwa in the   stage act of the Empire band.

In Kenya, fans of Pepe Kalle will remember the many tours he made to Kenya from the late 1980s to the early 1990s.  Among the towns he performed include Nairobi and Kisumu.


Afro Jazz musician Atemi Oyungu.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Meanwhile, The Oyster Bay at Valley Arcade in Nairobi will tomorrow host the Acoustic, Brunch, Bubbly and Jazz show. It will feature special performances by

and Aaron Rimbui.

For the two seasoned afro Jazz musicians, it will be an opportunity to showcase their latest and earlier hit songs. Atemi is known for some of her songs like ‘Someday’, ‘Nairobi’, ‘Imenibamba’ and ‘Kama We’.

As for Aaron, who specialises in the piano and keyboard, some of his popular songs are ‘Simama’, ‘Hafungi Macho’, ‘Karibu’ and ‘Freedom’.  The show starts at 11am and ends at 8pm. According to the organisers, all Covid-19 safety protocols will be observed during the show.

Event has been sponsored by Classic FM and Smooth FM, in conjunction with Oyster Bay. Entrance is Sh3,500 per person (Inclusive of Brunch and Champagne).

Meanwhile, veteran Ohangla musician Tony Nyadundo will next Friday perform during a special Ohangla show at the Treasure Gardens in Kilimani, Nairobi (Opposite Kilimani Primary School).  Nyadundo’s hit songs include ‘Ndoa ya Machozi’ and ‘Isanda Gi Hera’. It will be a welcome back show to his fans after a long break. Show starts at 2pm and ends at 8pm.


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