Le Voyageur

by: Papa Wemba

Since emerging in the 1970s, Papa Wemba has been a major figure in modern African pop. The Zairean native was never one to specialize in the traditional acoustic tribal music of Zaire -- his lively and usually danceable music is definitely pop, and he has often incorporated elements of African-American soul, funk, and disco. One of the many Wemba albums worth owning, Le Voyageur illustrates his consistent nature and shows how charismatic and expressive a singer he can be. Listening to such inviting Afro-pop offerings as "Jamais Kolongo," "Ombella," and "Yoko," it's clear that Wemba's music was still very fresh sounding in the early '90s. R&B elements serve him especially well on "Matinda" and "Maria Valencia." Highly recommended. ~ Alex Henderson

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