Manu Dibango, Cameroonian saxophonist, composer, and one of Africa’s greatest musical icons, passed away at the age of 86 in Paris after contracting the COVID-19 virus. His family made the announcement in a short social media post on Tuesday, March 24. Because of restrictions on large public gatherings, only close family and friends will attend the artist’s funeral, and a tribute to his memory will be organized when possible. In the meantime, fans are encouraged to send their condolences to a dedicated e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why It Matters
Over more than six decades, Dibango collaborated with some of the biggest musical acts in the realm of jazz fusion, reggae, and Afrobeat, including Nigerian musician Fela Kuti, American trumpeter and jazz fusion innovator Don Cherry, the South African choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and American jazz pianist Herbie Hancock. He was an original member of African Jazz, the hugely influential rumba act formed in 1953 in modern-day Democratic Republic of the Congo. His influence on jazz, pop, and hip-hop is undeniable. In a recent interview, Dibango said he intended to work on many more musical projects. His death is a great loss for Cameroon, Africa, and the worldwide music community.