Koffi Olomide

Koffi Olomide

Singer / Chanteur

Antoine Christophe Agbepa Mumba (born 13 July 1956), known professionally as Koffi Olomide, is a Congolese soukous singer, dancer, producer, and composer. He has had several gold records in his career. He is the founder of the Quartier Latin International orchestra with many notable artists, including Fally Ipupa and Ferré Gola.

Olomide, was born on 13 August 1956 in Kisangani, DRC. His mother named him Koffi because he was born on a Friday. He grew up in a middle-class family, without any musical background. During his youth, Olomide improvised by singing popular songs with his own lyrics and altered rhythms until a neighbor taught him how to play the guitar.

Described by fellow students and his teachers alike as “a very bright student,” Olomide got a scholarship to study in Bordeaux, France where he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in business economics. He is also reported to hold a master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Paris.

Upon his return to the Congo in the 1970s, Koffi joined Papa Wemba’s band, Viva la Musica, initially as a composer and songwriter, and later as a lead vocalist. In 1986, he formed his band known as Quartier Latin International, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2006. Since then, he has performed and recorded both with the group and by himself. Over the years, he built up a faithful fan base internationally, particularly in Africa and Europe. Koffi popularized the slower style of Soukous, which he dubbed Tcha Tcho. His music can be quite controversial, taking on current events and topics considered taboo in some conservative societies. He also participated in the salsa music project Africando. For his effort, Effrakata, released in 2001, Koffi received four awards on a single night at the annual Kora Awards in South Africa for 2002 and 2003, including the award for Best African Artist, which he won in 1998. More recently, he won the Kora Award for “Best African Artist of The Decade”. This established one of his many aliases, the ‘Quadra Kora Man.’

Olomide’s album Haut de Gamme: Koweït, Rive Gauche is listed in 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. In March 2003 Olomide released “Affaire D’Etat”, a double CD album featuring 18 tracks.

Olomide was part of the Papa Wemba musical, in the early 1980s. He has trained many young musicians, some of whom have since left his Quartier Latin band and gone solo. Some of those who have left are Fele Mudogo, Sam Tshintu, Suzuki 4×4, Soleil Wanga, Bouro Mpela, Fally Ipupa, Montana Kamenga, Ferre Gola. However Suzuki 4×4 has recently showed up once more in some of Quartier Latin shows, along with new recruits like Cindy Le Coeur, a female singer with very high pitched vocals, recorded here, in the song L’Amour N’existe Pas (Love doesn’t exist).

Koffi – who mostly refers to himself as “Mopao” – has a new release known as La Chicotte a Papa, having recently excelled in hits like Lovemycine, Diabolos, Grand Pretre Mere and Soupou, Cle Boa, among others. Koffi’s talent could be compared to the once king of African rhumba, Luambo Makiadi, who also saw many artists pass through his expert hands during his days. Today, he is one of Africa’s most popular musicians.

The twentieth and final album of his career, 13ième Apôtre (13th Apostle), scheduled for 2014, was released on October 13, 2015. He now devotes himself to the production of young musicians.

13ième Apôtre is announced like the last album of his career, it explains, nevertheless, it will never abandon the music but it will not do any personal album. Koffi devotes himself to the production of a young artist with his label Koffi Central and continues to direct his band Quartier Latin.

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