(Photo by C Brandon/Redferns via Getty Images)

Legendary Cameroonian Musician, Manu Dibango, Tests Positive For Coronavirus

After a recent hospital stay, the 86-year-old "Soul Makossa" creator is now "recovering and resting in serenity."

Legendary Cameroonian musician, Manu Dibango, is in recovery after testing positive for the coronavirus in France. The news was shared via the artist's Facebook page on Wednesday.

"After a recent hospital [stay] due to the Covid-19, Manu Dibango is resting and recovering in serenity," read the post. "He asks you to respect his privacy. He looks forward to seeing you soon and asks you, in this troubled time that we all go through, to take good care of you." There has been an outpouring of well-wishes from his fans and supporters in the comments section since the news surfaced.

The 86-year-old saxophonist is considered one of the foremost pioneers of Afro-jazz, known for his fusion of funk with traditional Cameroonian sounds.


His iconic1972 B-side "Soul Makossa" was a global hit, which both Michael Jackson and Rihanna famously referenced in their hit songs "Wanna Be Startin Somethin," and "Please Don't Stop the Music," respectively—reportedly without Dibango's permission. He later settled a lawsuit with the artists over their use of the track's hook.

He isn't the first African celebrity to share a positive coronavirus diagnosis. Star actor Idris Elba announced on Monday that he had also tested positive for the virus. Such news has helped disprove a popular myth that Black people were immune to the disease.

There are currently over 400 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Africa. The Sub-Saharan region, documented its first official death on Wednesday after Burkina Faso's Vice President of Parliament Rose Marie Compaore succumbed to the disease.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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