The song has also been widely sampled in hip-hop. Although Mr. In a interview with the BBC , Mr. Dibango took pride in the eclecticism of his music.
Coming from Africa, but first, musician. His father was a civil servant; his mother was a dressmaker. He grew up listening to Protestant church music, local traditional music and Westernized pop. At 15 he was sent to Europe to study classical piano and music theory in Paris and Brussels. But he was drawn to jazz, and he began playing saxophone in the early ls.
When he started performing in cabarets and jazz clubs in , his family cut off his allowance. In Belgium, he began working with musicians from the Belgian Congo which would be renamed Zaire after gaining independence in and then the Democratic Republic of Congo. By the late s he was leading his own band in Paris.
Soon there were more than a dozen cover versions, as the imported original disc sold out. The song's refrain consists of the phrase "ma-mako, ma-ma-sa, mako-mako ssa", which is a play on the word "Makossa", Dibango's main music genre. After the popularization of the song, the phrase was adapted and used in several popular songs including the following:   .
In February , Dibango filed a lawsuit against the two singers, claiming that both songs stole their "mama-say mama-sa mama-ko-sa" hook from "Soul Makossa" without permission. When Rihanna asked Jackson in for permission to sample the line, he allegedly approved the request without contacting Dibango beforehand.
The court in Paris ruled that with this agreement the African artist abdicated from any further claims. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Funk Afrobeat makossa disco. New York : Faber and Faber, Inc. Da Capo Press. World Music: The Rough Guide. Kossa means "dance" in Douala, his mother's native language. In , Michael Jackson picked up a version of a line that Dibango declaimed on "Soul Makossa" — which Jackson sang as "mama-se, mama-sa, ma-makossa" — on his song "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' " from the album Thriller.
The Cameroonian musician sued the American megastar; Jackson settled out of court for an undisclosed amount of money. Two years later, Dibango sued Jackson again, as well as Rihanna in France; that time, his case failed, due to the earlier settlement. Publicly, Dibango did not dwell on his wranglings with Jackson; as he wryly told Fresh Air in , "I think he wanted to say hello to Africa somewhere. A previous version of this obituary incorrectly stated that Manu Dibango was the first African artist to have a song on the American Top 40 charts.
He was not. Accessibility links Skip to main content Keyboard shortcuts for audio player. NPR Shop. His music helped fuel disco — and songs by Michael Jackson and Rihanna.
Facebook Twitter Flipboard Email. March 24, PM ET.Feb 04, · referencing Funky Soul Makossa, 12", SWRL Now this one here is an authentic & absolute B-Boy classic; HUGE in the Bronx, HUGE in NY & HUGE worldwide, not to mention one of the best on AB's 'Streetwise' label/5().