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Congolese Dance Hall Legend Aurlus Mabele Dies At 66
Congolese musician and soukous music pioneer Aurlus Mabele has officially passed away at 66, according to his daughter and singer Liza Monet. It is reported that the artist died at a hospital in Paris after contracting the coronavirus. He had suffered a stroke in recent years that complicated his health.
According to the New York Times, over 16,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in France with deaths totaling nearly 700 as of early Monday.
Mabele, born Aurelian Miatsonama, was most well known for his contributions in spearheading the soukous genre, an uptempo African and Caribbean dance hall style with pop and soul blends. After rising to prominence in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo throughout the '70s and '80s alongside the group Les Ndimbola Lokole, Aurlus moved to France. Once there, he cofounded his signature Loketo band and served as its lead singer.
With the help of guitarist Diblo Dibala, the group became a staple across dance halls worldwide, earning renown for fan favorites “Zenab,” “Embargo” and their classic album Extra Ball, released in 1991.
Mabele’s legacy of uniting the world through sound and dance will live on forever. He is said by NPR’s International Correspondent Eyder Peralta to have bridged music communities around the world by "help(ing) define genres but, more importantly, transcend(ing) borders and languages to make people dance."