#ThrowbackThursday: Papa Wemba

Being a teenager was weird.

No… Growing up, in general, is weird; but being a teenager definitely takes the crown for being that awkward phase in life. It’s a kind of middle place where you suddenly realized that you desperately wanted to be that cool, popular kid everyone else looked up to. So you did everything you could to be that person…And you failed. You failed mostly because you were trying too hard, and also because you were still  figuring out who you were in all that crazy adolescent haze.

We’ve all been there.

When I was about twelve or thirteen, I became a proper music junkie: I wrote Black Eyed Peas lyrics in my diary, I could probably argue who was the original between DMX and Ja Rule, I religiously listened to Kleptomaniax and Esir, and if you dared to mention Usher in any music conversation, you immediately got the look that said, ‘Sorry, but you’ve just been struck out of my friends-list’.

Okay, so maybe that last part wasn’t true. But I still was a junkie; and like every other junkie, I needed a fix. I needed more music, and I wanted to show the world that I was serious. I took my obsession a notch higher – I (surprisingly) managed to wrangle myself a brand new CD player. It was a blue Panasonic with little gray control  buttons and a small LCD display. It was perfect.

Then came that moment when I realized I hadn’t thought everything through. I didn’t own any kind of music CD. So I asked my dad for help and he gave me his Papa Wemba album.

Looking back, I think that moment changed me. Music stopped being only about the latest pop trend or trying to be cool. Music was about connecting people and adding your voice, not just beats. Music made me get closer to my father because we had this shared love, one artist we both loved to listen to. I replayed that album over a million times, and sometimes we’d just share the earphones and listen.

While taking this trip down memory lane I dug up a couple of songs that were on that album, L’Esclave. Some of them are live versions, not the original studio version as recorded on the album, but they still have that ‘oomph’ that makes you want more.

That’s  my throwback music story, what’s yours?

Papa Wemba – L’Esclave

Papa Wemba – Mfono Yami

Papa Wemba – Bakwetu


Featured image credit: unaun


5 thoughts on “#ThrowbackThursday: Papa Wemba

  1. I must say this is a major TBT the music is amazing and trust me it make you forget all the junk out there.the roots to proper meaningful music.it calms the body and you find your body moving to the beat,#where are my dancing shoes because this is a true awakening of the true music


    1. Yeah, this old Papa Wemba stuff is even better than his later stuff. Beats, melody and vocals are just perfect! I couldn’t stop playing Bakwetu over and over again…Definitely real music!

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂


  2. This brought me to your blog! I’m a big fan of Papa Wemba too, and his old albums are the best. Have you checked out “le Voyageur” album.. If not, you can find it on youtube. Hope you’d like it

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Finally someone who agrees with me!…Papa Wemba classics are by far some of his best tracks, I must have played that album over a million times! I bumped into ‘Le Voyageur’ while looking for L’Esclave, so I’ll be sure to give it a listen. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be worth it.

      Cheers! Thanks for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s ok. Voyage is on my top list album. Have you heard of Lokua Kanza? Another great artist from the Congo. He’s “categorised” under “world music” genre.

        Liked by 1 person

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