Manu Dibango, jazz great, dead at 86 from COVID-19

Jazz musician Manu Dibango performs at the Les Escales Festival in Saint-Nazaire, France on July 26. Dibango has died at the age of 86. Photo by Selbymay/Wikimedia Commons

March 24 (UPI) — Manu Dibango, a jazz great who is best known for his 1972 hit song “Soul Makossa,” has died at the age of 86 from COVID-19.

Dibango’s official Facebook page confirmed his death on Tuesday.

“A voice raises from far away….It is with deep sadness that we announce you the loss of Manu Dibango, our Papy Groove, who passed away on 24th of March 2020,” the post said.

A tribute to Dibango will be organized at a later date. Fans were also encouraged to share their condolences through email.

Dibango was a regular on the European jazz circuit in the early 1950s and started his recording career in 1968 with a self-titled album.

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The musician created “Soul Makossa” as a B side to an original anthem he had written to honor Cameroon’s success in hosting the 1972 Africa Cup of Nationals football tournament.

The song, which was hard to find, became a hit with nine different versions appearing on the Billboard charts due to bootleg versions.

Michael Jackson famously sampled “Soul Makossa” on 1982’s “Wanna Be Startin’ Something.” The song would continually be sampled and referenced in other tracks such as Will Smith’s “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It,” A Tribe Called Quest’s “Rhythm (Devoted to the Art of Moving Butts),” Jay-Z’s “Face-Off,” Kanye West’s “Lost in the World” and Rihanna’s “Don’t Stop the Music.”


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