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Paris – The iconic African jazz legend Manu Dibango singer and saxophonist died at the age of 86 in France. The report has been confirmed by his management team.

Manu Dibango

“It is with deep sadness that we announce the loss of Manu Dibango, our Papy Groove, who passed away on March 24, 2020, at 86 years old, further to Covid 19,” read a statement on Dibango’s Facebook page.

Emmanuel Dibango was born in Douala, in French-administered Cameroon. His father was a high-ranking civil servant, his mother a fashion designer, and both parents were devout Protestants who disapproved of secular music.

Manu received encouragement from the musical director of his church choir, and surreptitiously broadened his musical perspective with a bamboo flute and a home-made guitar. In 1944 he was in the school choir for the state visit of Charles de Gaulle to Cameroon.

In the early 1960s, his style of playing took on more African rhythms as he collaborated with Brussels-based musicians from Congo. He began touring in Africa, developing his trademark pumping saxophone rhythms.

Last year, on the sidelines of a tour celebrating 60 years on stage, he said jazz music needed to have a danceable beat .

“We are the leg specialists, things have to move, that is how I see music,” he said.

Today, we pay tribute to him by admiring the creativity & musicality he has brought to the music industry.