Why I disappeared from music scene — Awilo Longomba

He ruled the airwaves in the
late 80s with his songs
which cut across cultural
boundaries. But suddenly,
he disappeared into thin
air, leaving millions of his
fans yearning for more of
his stimulating music.

Awilo Longomba, the Congolese superstar who won
the hearts of millions of music lovers across the
world, especially in Nigeria with his monotonous but
infectious songs and sexy dance steps has resurfaced
again. He disappeared from the music scene after
releasing his hit album, and since then, nothing much
has been heard of him.

Interestingly, the Congelese superstar reappeared in
Lagos, last week where he graced the hosting of
2Face’s new album, “Ascension”, by MTV and the
organisers of Industry Nite.” Indeed, it was a
homecoming affair for the “Moto Pamba” crooner
who performed alongside 2Face at the event.
Elated Awilo told Pot-Pourri that he was in Nigeria
where he performed at the opening gala of MTN
Project West Africa, as well as to promote his latest
single, “Bundele.” He described 2Face as “a legend of
our time”, adding that “After listening to all of his
songs, it has been very difficult for me to separate
one single from the other because they are all good.
It was indeed a difficult choice to make. Tuface is

“I was actually invited to come and perform at the
gala night of the popular reality TV show, MTN
Project Fame. I was due to return to London where
I’m currently residing, but I decided to stay back and
honour Tuface as they host him tonight. 2Face is a
legend of our time. I love Nigeria and all the English-
speaking countries. I relocated to London because I
needed to improve on my English speaking art,”
Awilo said.

Also, on why he disappeared from the music scene,
the Congolese superstar said, it was based on global
demand for his music. “My disappearance has to do
with promotional issues. After releasing my hit
album, I was wanted all over the world. I didn’t
disappear, rather, I was busy touring the whole world
and entertaining my fans.

Honestly, I think you should inquire from the DJs
about me. Yes, I went underground for some years
now. But now, I’m back with a new song which is
currently making waves in Brazil and other parts of
the world. Let me add that I am also in Nigeria to
promote my single titled “Bundele.” It is currently
rated as one of the best songs in the world.”

Awilo’s popularity during his reign spread to USA/
Canada while on tour then with Nabtry International
Cultural Dancers, an African dance group founded in
2007 by Grace Haukwa. The Super-Man tour was
successful throughout 2008 and 2009. By popular
votes and a historic win at the International Reggae
and World Music Awards with over 120 countries
voting in, Awilo’s Super-Man won the Best Soukous
Entertainer Award 2009.

According to him, Afro-beat king, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti
inspired him into music. “ The Afro-beat legend, Fela
Kuti inspired my going into music. He was the biggest
musician Nigeria ever produced and he popularised
the Nigerian music all over the world. As a kid, I
enjoyed one of his songs, ‘Shakara’. That song
inspired one of my hit songs which you all know and
sing till date. Afro-beat is the best music genre in the
world,”Awilo said.

His songs appealed not only to English-speaking
countries but also, European countries and other
parts of the world. His songs particularly inspired
most Nigerian musicians such as Funmi Adams’
‘Yaro,’ which she sang in Hausa in the late 80’s. Also
Julius Agwu’s songs, “Okombo, Chop Bisikit,
Bendown Sellect and I Buy Kwilikwili” were all
inspired by Awilo’s creativity.

It would be recalled that after Awilo’s hit songs in his
Coupe Bilamba album, a lot of other French singing
Africans began to outwit each other in releasing
songs which then had a large market in Nigeria. Its
influence grew to the extent that comic actor, Julius
Agwu, made a comic remix of Awilo’s songs and
made a massive impact. Decribed as “a huge
success”, most musicians including gospel artistes
made their own versions and also began to play that
brand of music though it has waned at the moment.

It was another unforgettable experience when Awilo
stormed Nigeria for a concert. Millions of music
lovers in Nigeria described that experience as “
unprecedented in the history of shows in the
country.” What probably could equate the crowd that
attended the epoch-making music show is the Paul
Adefarasin’s Experience, where Christians of all
denominations gathered at the Tafawa Balewa
Square for a once in a year live concert featuring
both foreign and local acts. Awilo was in his best
element, setting the venue on fire, with his
captivating dance steps.

Unfortunately, the Congolese superstar disappeared
into thin air, leaving no traces until last week when he
reappeared in Lagos. Recently, his fans were shocked
when they saw him in a music video of a wavemaking
Nigerian artiste, Praize. Indeed, Awilo is back to
reclaim his place in the music scene. But can he pull
the same weight as he did during his reign?
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