BY CAROLINE NYANGA
Congolese rumba maestro Koffi Olomide popularly known as Le Grand Mopao is expected in the country on May 7 for a grand show at Bomas of Kenya. This will be his fourth visit to Kenya. Here are some of the things you need to know about him.
He is one of the richest African musicians
A Congolese singer and dancer Koffi Olomide is known for several gold records in his musical career and for founding of the Quartier Latin International orchestra. He is the richest musician in Democratic Republic of Congo and the fourth richest in Africa. His total net worth is estimated to be amazing $18 million as of 2016. He has amassed so much owning estates in Paris, Kinshasha and Belgium just to name a few.
Kenya remains his favorite destination.
In Africa, Kenya remains one of his favourite destinations. “It is my dream country besides being the pride of Africa. But despite his affection and adoration for Kenya which he refers to as close to his heart, Koffi admits having little knowledge of the country.”
He remains the Bad Boy of DRC
Koffi Olomide has been dubbed the most controversial artist in DRC ever. In August 2012, Koffi Olomide was found guilty of assaulting his producer. Earlier on, in the same year he had been charged with raping three of his dancers. The charges were later dropped. Owing to this he has coined himself a name The Bad Boy of DRC.
He has 35 stage names – the highest in the world
Koffi Olomide probably holds the record for the biggest number of aliases by any musician in the world. He is known by a total of at least 35 names. Known names include the following; Treizième Apôtre (Thirteenth Apostle), Shakespeare of Zaire, Nkolo Lupemba and Sarkozy, after former French President Nicola Sarkozy, Makila Mabe (which literally means “bad blood” or unlucky child) he was born very sickly.
Others include: Papa Plus; Tcha – Tcho King , Eza Mayi , Papa Top, Mukulu Kulu, Effrakata, Fololo Papa, Papa Happiness , Rapid Intervention Force, Golden Star, World No. 1 , Quadra Kora Man, Grand Mopao, Mopao Mokonzi, MM, High Priest Mother, Nzambe Ya Ba Na Africa Golden Ball, BB Taste, Favorite Dish, Na Didi Papa, Papa Mourinho, Mopao Sarkozy, Pape Noir, Barack Obama, Young Pato,
Guardiola, La Rambo Du Congo, Central Market, Acram – Oje, Zando Ya Munene, Pure Again, Patrão Cinco Estrelas (Portuguese for 5-Star Boss), Koffi Central. A couple of years ago he blithely stepped on the toes of many Catholics in Kinshasa when he added “Benedict XVI of the Congo” to his names.
This was seen as affront on Pope Benedict XVI - the global head of the Catholic church. Worse still he placed banners at various spots in Kinshasa. As Robert Osano a lingala music fan who has lived in Kinshasa recalls: “There was a public outcry over the use of the Pope’s name in his promotional material.
At some point he attempted to add Pape Noir (Black Pope) to his numerous names, a move that did not go down well with the predominant catholic DR Congo fraternity.
He broke the Kora award record
He becomes the first Congolese artist to receive four Awards in one night during the 2002 annual Kora Awards in South Africa in for his effort on the album: Effrakata. These included the award for Best African Artist, which he had earlier won in 1998. He went ahead to sing about it in one of his songs. .. whose part of the lyrics goes: Eh Mopao quadra kora Marché Central Jeune Pato
He bears Congolese and Sierra Leone blood
60 – year-old Koffi Olomide whose real names are Christophe Antoine Agbepa Mumba, to a Congolese father and Sierra Leone mother.
His name Koffi means Friday
The name Koffi was given to him in line with the common West African naming tradition (Sierra Leone, Ghana) in relation to the day of the week one is born. Koffi is one of the names given to boys born on Friday. Popular male names for the other weekdays are: Kojo (Monday), Komla (Tuesday), Kwaku (Wednesday), Yao (Thursday), Kwame (Saturday) and Kwasi (Sunday).
He holds a Masters Degree in Mathematics
Koffi Olomide is a proud holder of a Bachelors’ Degree in Business Economics. He also has a Masters’ Degree in Mathematics from the University of Paris.
He started his career with Papa Wemba
Koffi Olomide begun his music career with Papa Wemba’s band, Viva la Musica, initially as a composer and song-writer, and later as a vocalist and lead-singer.
The name Olomide was coined during his time at Viva La Musica. Koffi was such an impressive songwriter that one day in 1977 Papa Wemba exclaimed, “Ooh! l’homme idee” (Oh! the idea-man!). A funkier version of the words was adopted – Olomide. Koffi Olomide would later become his official stage name.
Initiated his band 30 years ago
He went solo in 1986, forming his own band that he called Quartier Latin. He does a unique genre, a slower style of soukous that he calls Tcha Tcho.
He lives in France
Koffi mainly lives in France, and is married with seven children. His children have a unique naming convention: Aristote, Elvis, Miss Universe, Nike, Rocky, Del pirlo Mourinho and Saint James Rolls.