Photo: Courtesy


By Sheila Kimani (@sheilakimm)

Legendary Congolese musician Tabu Ley Rochereau passed on last weekend 30 November 2013, aged 76, at Saint-Luc hospital in Brussels, Belgium where he had been undergoing treatment for a stroke he suffered in 2008 and while fans were left mourning a hero, his vast family has been left mourning a dad.

Like the majority of African men who have the option to settle for polygamous family, Tabu Ley Rochereau is believed to have had 89 children all of whom were from different mothers amongst them the legendary M'bilia Bel, who he had initially met through music but later married and had one child.

A while back, guitarist Chris McCarus, was on a personal mission to learn Congolese-style soukous guitar and meet the stars of soukous. And he ended up at the home of Tabu Ley, in a neighborhood in Kinshasa.

McCarus describes the house as having quite a bit of space, and there was a yard, which symbolized massive wealth.

Inside, Chris says there were adult kids and little kids. He couldn't tell where all the kids came from, so he asked someone “How many children does Tabu Ley have?” Someone in the family asked someone else, who then replied, "about 70."

"He had it all," McCarus said.

That was back then. In addition to his children, McCarus says “Tabu Ley left his musical mark in that "hundreds of singers around Africa wanted to be like him and still do."


Read about his death here:


Watch a video of his legendary tunes.