Paris-based Congolese singer Faya Tess has released two albums in honour of the musician who nurtured her own career, Tabu Ley.
Currently back home in Kinshasa on a concert tour, Faya Tess, who is remembered by the fans of Tabu Ley and his Afrisa International for her rivalry with dancer-turned-singer Mbilia Bel, will this evening launch the two albums.
The venue for the big concert is the Palm Beach in Kinshasa.The two albums feature cover versions of some of Tabu Ley’s most popular songs, including Mokolo Nakokufa, Mongali, Jolie Elie, Mokrano, Ekeseni and Hortense.She has been backed on the vocals by evergreen crooner Nyboma Mwandido, who also lives in Paris.
Nyboma is remembered for his numerous chart-busting collaborations with other Congolese greats and bands, but especially with Pepe Kalle. He doubles as a co-producer of the two albums with Papa Andrew.
Speaking to the Saturday Nation earlier this week, Nyboma said:
“Many of us idolised Tabu Ley’s singing style, which was unique.”Tabu Ley, known earlier in his career as Pascal Rochereau, died in Belgium in November 2013, after a long illness. He will always be remembered as the other pillar of the great Congolese music machine, the other being Franco Luambo Luanzo Makiadi.
Franco and Tabu Ley started their careers in the mid-1950s, gaining prominence through the 1960s and 1970s and into the 1980s with a music rivalry that fascinated Africa.
Franco died in Belgium in 1989.
Tabu Ley was an urbane sharp dresser, a great dancer and a great vocalist. Franco was a lead guitar wizard, who also enjoyed singing.The guitar work on the reworkings of the Tabu Ley songs is by Caine Madoka, who also had a stint with Afrisa International.
Faya Tess, a flamboyant singer, joined Afrisa International in 1986 and left in 1992. She is best remembered for her part in the song Camarade. She also did a remix of the hit song Nadina, which she sang jointly with Mbilia Bel, who had joined the group earlier. It was widely believed that Faya Tess’s arrival sparked intense rivalry and a rift between the two singers, culminating in Mbilia leaving.
Though both singers have denied any differences, some former band members confirmed that, indeed, there was a bitter rivalry. The boss was rumoured then to have had an eye on both, and he left Mbilia with a daughter, Melodie, who is now also a promising singer based in Paris.
Meanwhile, some US-based former members of Afrisa International led by Mekanisi Modero, are also putting finishing touches to an album to honour their former boss.“The band is back and alive and we will embark on a concert tour later in the year,” Mekanisi told the Saturday Nation in a telephone interview.