‘Bye-bye Papa Lolo’ concert set for Nairobi ahead of artiste’s burial in London

Wednesday March 18 2020

A tribute show to mark the beginning of the final journey of legendary Congolese guitarist and composer Mose Se Sengo ‘Fan Fan’ , who died in Nairobi, will be held Friday evening.

Lingala Rhumba music fans and some Kenya-based Congolese musicians will use the opportunity to pay homage to the musician, who had been a frequent visitor to Kenya in recent years.

The ‘Papa Lolo’ hit song maker collapsed and died a few days after arriving in Kenya on a recording mission that would also have taken him to the northern Tanzanian city of Arusha.

Fans will have an opportunity to meet and condole with the widow, Angelique Bliungwa Nsanga, and Mose’s younger sister, Massaka Ma Nzunga Gabrielle, at Sensation Dolce VIP in Cianda House on Koinange Street, Nairobi. The show has been dubbed the ‘Papa Lolo Farewell Party’.

The two women are expected fly back to London on Monday with the body of the musician who was on a working tour of Nairobi arranged by Mr Tabu Osusa of Ketebul Records.

Mose ‘Fan Fan’, who moved to London years ago in pursuit of greener pastures in his music career, had become a British citizen.

Expected to perform during tomorrow's concert, whose entry is free, are Blaise Kava and Rhumba International Du Congo Band and several other artistes, who were inspired by the Congolese star — whose career dates back to 1968 to 1973 — when he was a member of Franco Luambo Luanzo Makiadi's TPOK Jazz.

He is fondly remembered for the song, Dje Melasi, which put his name among those of Congo's and Africa's best music composers.

Among those who have mourned Mose Fan Fan are Rhumba lovers Cotu secretary-general Francis Atwoli, songstress Suzanna Owiyo, consultant neurosurgeon Reuben Lubanga and retired top athlete Rose Tata Muya.

Speaking to the Nation yesterday, Angelique expressed appreciation to her husband's fans in Kenya for “countless condolence messages” since he passed away.

The song ‘Papa Lolo’, which was recorded more than a decade ago, sprang to popularity after being uploaded on social media several years ago, after which it went viral.

Today, many Kenyans have learnt the lyrics and love to sing along the sad song about the musicians dead son whose body couldn't be found in a river despite searching for long.

The widow said: “We, as a family, have felt stronger, especially with support from the British record label, Stern Music Records, which paid for our return tickets and to fly the body to the UK."

A long-time Mose ‘Fan Fan’ associate, Congolese guitarist Fiston Lusambo, who is also based in London and had accompanied the widow and sister to Nairobi, flew back to the UK on Thursday to finalise funeral arrangements.

“We are also planning to stage a tribute concert for Mose ‘Fan Fan’ before his burial later this month in London,” Mr Lusambo said.

The composer’s sudden death, which occurred two days before the burial of his TPOK Jazz counterpart, Lutumba Simaro, was a double tragedy to the Rhumba fraternity.

Veteran Kenyan radio presenter Fred Obachi Machoka, who travelled to Kinshasa for Simaro’s burial, said Mose’s death came as a shock to most musicians back home in the DRC.