General Defao

Congolese singer General Defao. Kenyan-based bands have planned a show to honour the fallen musician.

| File

Congolese bands plan show to honour Defao in Nairobi

Kenyan-based Congolese bands have planned a show to honour fallen musician General Defao Matumona tonight January 10.

Defao died nearly a fortnight ago in Cameroon and his body is expected to arrive in Kinshasa this week.

The show to be held in Nairobi, where Defao spent close to 18 years of his adult life, will see several leading Nairobi-based Congolese musicians perform at Egesa Villa in Umoja estate.

According to Guy Kadi, who is among those coordinating the event, invitations have been sent to those who performed with Defao during his stay in Kenya.

“We opted to honour Defao in recognition of his illustrious contribution to music in Kenya and beyond. His fans are also welcome to celebrate his music,” Kadi said.

Among the groups expected to perform are Rhumba Japan, Vibrations Musica, Afro Ngoma , International Rhumba Du Congo, Bilenge Musica Du Congo and visiting London-based musician Fiston Lusambo.

Lusambo had teamed up with Defao in recording some tracks (including one in Swahili) while he was still based in Nairobi.

Arrangements are also underway to have some Mombasa- based Congolese bands also honour Defao with a show. Panya Buku, a die-hard rhumba fan and music promoter in Mombasa, said he would soon team up with others to celebrate Defao’s music .

“Kenyan rhumba fans will forever cherish his music considering how long he lived with us,” Buku said.

Media personality Nancie MamaAfrika Elombe said she will remember Defao for his humility and entertaining music style.

“He was a down-to-earth musician who was always ready to interact with both musicians and fans,” she said.

Defao, who is one of the best singers and dancers of the fourth generation of Congolese rhumba musicians, died while on a tour of Cameroon.

Speaking to the Nation on Saturday, his long-term associate, Montana Kamenga confirmed he would be flying to Douala to accompany the body on a private jet. However, the date was yet to be confirmed. He revealed that this had been made possible by the Congolese government. Several other musicians will accompany Montana.

“Arrangements are in place for me to travel with my counterpart’s such as veterans Bozi Boziana and Reddy Amisi. Others are former members of Defao’s Big Stars, family members and government officials,” he said. Montana has been a leading member of the Big Stars.

According to Montana, the final funeral programme will be communicated later this week in coordination with the family and government officials.

The Democratic Republic of Congo government has stepped in to honour Defao like it has been the case with many other fallen music icons from the nation renowned for its rhumba music prowess.

The 62-year old Defao famous for his hit songs like Sala Noki and Madova was also among the proponents of the popular ndombolo dancing style of the 1990s.

One of his latest releases, Papa na Moise is already proving popular on YouTube as his fans share the song on social media alongside many of his earlier popular songs.

US-based musician Ngouma Lokito said he was already working on a tribute track. Speaking last week to the Nation, Ngouma said he would laise with others like Shimita El Diego in producing the track. Shimita and Defao worked together in the Grand Zaiko Wawa band.

In Kinshasa, guitarist Sedjokha Tshomba, who performed with Defao in the Choc Stars band, said he would be teaming up with other musicians in Kinshasa to dedicate a song and show to him.

Prior to pursuing a solo career, Defao had performed with some of the top bands in DR Congo like Grand Zaiko Wawa, Choc Stars and his own Big Stars Band.


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