myAfrica BETA

User Guidelines | Account/Register | Get Help
Jules Shungu Wembadio Pene Thabani Kikumba (Papa Wemba)


Congolese singer and African musical icon, 1970's - present.

More by user: klucy
Created: 2nd Jul 2008
Modified: 2nd Jul 2008
Professional Information
Professional Areas:
Working primarily in:

Description of Work:
Wemba officially began his career as a singer and songwriter in 1970 when he co-founded the group Zaiko Langa Langa before splitting off four years later to start his own band, Isife Sokole. In 1976, he formed the group Viva la Musica. During Mobutu Sese Seko's demand for 'authenticite,' Wemba performed wearing a rafia skirt and cowrie shell hat, using traditional instruments in his music, though he has vastly recreated his own image since then. Hoping to reach new ears, Wemba traveled to Paris in 1987 where he started a band with both African and European members. Concert tours around throughout Europe and the U.S. in the late 1980s brought him a wider audience. Since then, he has been recording with this group as well as independent composing for Viva la Musica. He is known for his distinctive voice, and his eclectic music that blends traditional instruments and rhythms with innovative sounds. Aside from his music, Wemba also has a reputation for his fashion sense. His trademark baggy-but-tailored pants and designer button-downs have earned him the title of 'sapeur,' a member of the Society of Ambianceurs and Persons of Elegance. He is known as "The King of Rhumba Rock." Sources:;; Photo Source:
Biographical Information
Jules Shungu Wembadio Pene Thabani Kikumba (Papa Wemba)
(At a Glance)
Date of Birth: Jun/14/1949
Gender: male
Place of Origin: Congo-Kinshasa
Born in Kasai, Congo (then Zaire) in 1949 as Shungu Wembadio Pene Thabani Kikumba, the singer who has come to be known as Papa Wemba inherited his father's cultural title of 'Chief of Customs' - but left rural Congo for life in Kinshasa at 20.

More People

Congo-Kinshasa, Government
Soccer, Congo-Kinshasa, Zambia
Congo-Kinshasa, Government
World, Congo-Kinshasa, Government