Papa Wemba: The Son of a Professional Mourner Brings Joyful Affirmation to a Broken World

The Mindful Bard

by Wanda Waterman
The Voice Magazine, Volume 22 Issue 28 2014-07-18

Album: Maître d’école(link)

Artist: Papa Wemba

“I said to myself, I don’t want to play music only for Zaireans anymore. I am going to play music for all humanity.”
– Papa Wemba

Papa Wemba (born Jules Shungu Wembadio Pene Kikumba) is a Tetela tribe member from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire). He says that his mother, a professional mourner who sang at funerals, was his greatest musical influence. The oldest boy in his family, he was obliged to care for his siblings after both parents died when he was still young. (Read the rest here.)

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