Home FEATURE STORIES KOFFI OLOMIDE BEYOND THE MONEY & THE WOMEN | CONGOLESE RHUMBA

KOFFI OLOMIDE BEYOND THE MONEY & THE WOMEN | CONGOLESE RHUMBA

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KOFFI OLOMIDE BEYOND THE MONEY & THE WOMEN | CONGOLESE RHUMBA

Koffi Olomide is one the most famous rhumba musician of recent Congolese music. He is also the leader of the Quartier Latin band, that he founded in 1986 after leaving Papa Wemba’s Viva la Musica. Koffi reached a career peak in the mid-90’s and early 2000’s when when he, among other achievements, played in some of the most prestigious venues, and received many awards. He is know by many nicknames like Rambo, Tchatcho, Papa Top, Papa Bonheur, Quadra Kora Man, Golden Star, etc.

Born on July 13, 1956 in Kisangani, Antoine had a mostly sad infancy as he relates in certain songs. He would then study economics and mathematics in Bordeaux and Paris, France, before returning to Congo in the 70s. Up on his return, he developed his music talent, and joined Viva La Musica before following his own direction.

Koffi released more than 17 albums, and a lot of them like V12, Magie and Loi were big hits. For instance, Robert Dimery’s 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die feature the album Haut the Game, specifically the song Koweit, Rive Gauche. His achievements owned him several awards in his career, notably four trophies on the same day during 2002’s Kora Awards, related to his album Effrakata. Among those achievements, Koffi became the first African artist to give a performance in a fully packed Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy. More astonishingly, the rendez-vous only benefited from mouth to mouth marketing; no TV or radio commercial at all.

Beside love and praises for women, Koffi seems to draw his inspiration from societal and sometimes global trends. However, another non-negligible portion of Koffi’s attention comes from less glamorous facts. They include a contentious personality resulting in polemics, physical assaults and other issues with the law. He was expelled from Kenya after hitting a female dancer with a powerful kick. A footage of the assault caused outrage in Kenya and surrounding countries.

Despite his downsides, Koffi is a considered as a great pillar of modern Congolese and African music. As you travel around Africa, it is frequent to listen to his various iconic songs, especially those from the 90s. Hard work, perseverance, creativity, and other talents turned young Antoine into an heavy weight Congolese artist.

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