Koffi Olomide Biography
Antoine Christophe Agbepa Mumba, also known as Koffi Olomide, (born 13 July 1956) is a soukous singer, dancer, producer and composer from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Koffi has had several gold records in his career. He is the founder of the Quartier Latin International orchestra with many notable artists including Fally Ipupa and Ferré Gola.
Olomide was born on 13 August 1956 in Kisangani, DRC. His mother named him Koffi because he was born on a Friday. He grew up in a middle-class family, without any musical background. During his youth, Olomide improvised by singing popular songs with his own lyrics and altered rhythms until a neighbor taught him how to play the guitar.Olomide got a scholarship to study in Bordeaux, France where he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in business economics. He is also reported to hold a master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Paris.
Upon his return to the Congo in the 1970s, Koffi joined Papa Wemba’s band, Viva la Musica, initially as a composer and songwriter, and later as a lead vocalist. In 1986, he formed his band known as Quartier Latin International, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2006. Since then, he has performed and recorded both with the group and by himself. Over the years, he built up a faithful fan base internationally, particularly in Africa and Europe. Koffi popularized the slower style of Soukous, which he dubbed Tcha Tcho. His music can be quite controversial, taking on current events and topics considered taboo in some conservative societies. He also participated in the salsa music project Africando. For his effort, Effrakata, released in 2001, Koffi received four awards on a single night at the annual Kora Awards in South Africa for 2002 and 2003, including the award for Best African Artist, which he won in 1998. More recently, he won the Kora Award for “Best African Artist of The Decade”. This established one of his many aliases, the ‘Quadra Kora Man.’