Veteran Congolese musician Kasongo wa Kanema dies at 73

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Kasongo wa Kanema (R) during a live performance with Orchestra Super Mazembe Band.

Veteran Congolese singer, Kasongo wa Kanema, has passed on, according to fellow musician, Longwa Ngoi Disco.

Kasongo died at his home in Langata, a Nairobi suburb where he has been living since relocating from Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo (then Zaire).

Longwa told journalists that the former leader of the legendary group Orchestra Super Mazembe died on Tuesday at 7pm, as revealed by his children, Morris and Chantal.

The musician had been battling High Blood Pressure that culminated into stroke.

Kasongo wa Kanema suffering from stroke.

He was part of the elite group of Congolese musicians who relocated to Kenya in the early 1970s under the tutelage of the legendary Baba Ilunga wa Ilunga in search of greener pastures when Kinshasa held little promise for the many bands.

The 73-year-old musician is best remembered for his Kasongo composition. He is also remembered for his lead vocals in the evergreen Kakolele Viva Christmas song.

Kasongo served the Super Mazembe group for four decades as a guitarist, singer and song composer. The band is best known for such songs as Kasongo, Shauri Yako and Na Bimaka Te.  

Legendary Rhumba maestro, Kasongo wa Kanema.

The Band started off as Super Vox in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaire), crossed into Zambia and then Tanzania where it changed to Super Mazembe before finally settling in Kenya.

In 2017, Kasongo took a break in music following his physician’s advice.

He owned Watoto Studio in Nairobi’s Yaya Centre where local-based and visiting Congolese music stars recorded songs.

Kasongo was among the last four surviving Super Mazembe Band members that initially had 13 members.

Three years ago, Kasongo wa Kanema broke down on television when he was asked about his team. He recalled that they were initially a-13-member band but by 2017 only four were still alive.

He is survived by a Kenyan widow and six children.

Kasongo will be laid to rest at Langata cemetery where most Congolese have been buried.

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