African jazz and funk musician Manu Dibango passed yesterday at the age of 86 from coronavirus complications. Dibango is known for his 1972 hit song “Soul Makossa.” He melded jazz, funk and the music of his native Cameroon into his own transcontinental style. His recording career began in 1968 with a self-titled album and he released over 30 full-length projects in five decades. He collaborated with many artists over the years including Fela Kuti, Hugh Masakela and Herbie Hancock. Michael Jackson famously sampled “Soul Makossa” for his hit “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'” and Rihanna used it later in her song “Don’t Stop The Music.” Grammy-nominated African singer Angelique Kidjo, who worked with Dibango in the past, posted a video on Twitter of the two of them performing “Soul Makossa” two months ago.
Dear #ManuDibango, you’ve always been there for me from my beginnings in Paris to this rehearsal just 2 months ago! You re the original Giant of African Music and a beautiful human being. This coda of #SoulMakossa is for you! pic.twitter.com/3pGoICwjCn
— Angelique Kidjo (@angeliquekidjo) March 24, 2020