Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
(b Tabu Pascal, '40, Bandundu, Zaire) Singer, composer, bandleader, aka Rochereau; an African superstar, having written over 2,000 songs, released over 150 albums, leading development of Congolese music from the 78 era to the present. Began early, assimilating indigenous styles and the music of the Catholic Church; wrote 'Besame Muchacha' at 14, a hit recorded by Kabaselle; joined Kasabelle and African Jazz '59, wrote hit 'Kelia'; became known as Rochereau, left '63 to form African Fiesta with Dr Nico (prolific singles compiled on LPs Authenticit‚, two vols, SuccŠs D'Hier). Left Nico '65 to form own African Fiesta National, innovating ever since with new instrumentation, elements of salsa, soul, disco etc within basic rumba framework. In late '60s he toured Africa and carried on a prodigious recorded output; for many fans the pristine beauty of his recordings of this era remains unequalled: La Musique Congolaise de Vari‚t‚s (two vols), L'Afrique Danse (vol. 4), Tango Ya Ba Vieux Kalle No. 2. Renamed band Afrisa International '70, performed at Olympia Theatre in Paris, A L'Olympia (two vols) capturing relaxed and lilting classic dance music. On return to Zaire he was fˆted as a national hero; Afrisa began to become a training ground for a new generation incl. Sam Mangwana and Mbilia Bel; two vols of Afrisa International from this period were long available. He retired temporarily '75 to look after business affairs, returned triumphant at the Nigerian festival (two-disc FESTAC 77). By mid-'80s he had established his own production company, Genidia, and was gathering international fame, touring USA, Japan, Europe. LPs alternating driving dance beat with slower haunting ballads: En Amour Y'a Pas De Calcul and Maze '82, Femmes D'Autrui and two-disc Loyenghe '83, In America and Sarah '84, African Selection '85. Still in good voice and still touring '90s, even collaborating with 'new wave' star Ami Koita. Albums incl. Bebeti Soukous on Realworld, with an invited audience in Peter Gabriel's studio, a good time had by all.