Anxiety mounts over Simaro burial plans in Kinshasa

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With uncertainty still persisting on the burial date of legendary Congolese musician Lutumba Simaro in Kinshasa, some Kenyans who had hinted that they would travel to DR Congo for the funeral have had to put their plans on hold.

Initial reports had indicated that a State funeral for the great composer and band leader would be held this weekend. However, the government appears to have postponed the arrangement indefinitely.

Cotu Secretary-General Francis Atwoli and veteran radio personality Fred Obachi Machoka both Saturday deferred their travel plans to Kinshasa.

Mr Atwoli, who was to fly to Kinshasa yesterday, cancelled his ticket, with no official confirmation on when Simaro’s remains would be interred.

“Initially, we had been informed that the burial would be this weekend, but when I contacted my friends in Kinshasa, I was told of the postponement of the burial plans by the DR Congo government,” he said.

But he indicated that he was still ready to travel once the burial date is confirmed.

Instead, later this week, Mr Atwoli will be hosting several Paris-based Congolese musicians, whom he has invited to perform during next month’s Labour Day celebrations.

“It’s been a hectic week for me while contacting various sources in Kinshasa on the likely burial date,” said Mr Machoka.

One of the musicians coming to Nairobi for many years performed alongside Simaro during his time with the legendary Franco Luambo Luanzo-led TPOK Jazz band. Those coming to Nairobi next Friday are former TOPK Jazz singer Wuta Mayi, mercurial crooner Nyboma Mwandido, songbird Faya Tess and ace solo guitarist Cayen Madoka. Speaking to the Sunday Nation earlier in the week, Nyboma confirmed he and his three colleagues would be in Nairobi on Friday.

As Mr Atwoli said the four had confirmed they were rehearsing special songs they have dedicated to the fallen music icon Simaro, which they will perform during their Nairobi show.

Simaro, once the long-serving vice-president of the TPOK Jazz, who died on March 30, in Paris, at 81, was popularly known as “Le Poete”. His vast discography features classics such “Maya”, “Mabele”, “Kadima” and “Faute ya Commercant”, some of the biggest songs to come out of Congo in several decades.

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