Congolese singer Aurlus Mabele died in a Paris hospital yesterday. Social media from friends and family say that the 67-year-old died of coronavirus, while other reports state that he developed complications from a stroke and long-term health problems.
Born in Brazzaville, Congo, in 1953, Mabele moved to France in the '80s. With powerhouse guitarist Diblo Dibala he formed the legendary super group Loketo and was dubbed the “king of soukous,” selling millions of albums with singles like “Liste Rouge” and “Embargo.” Fifteen Loketo albums were released between 1986-2007.
In the early years of Afropop Worldwide, Mabele and Loketo--which initially featured Congolese guitar master Diblo Dibala--toured the U.S. frequently, gracing the stages of clubs like New York's S.O.B's with his joyous music and larger-than-life personality. Loketo releases like Super Soukous and Extra Ball remain classics of soukous during its international heyday. Mabele will be sorely missed, and long remembered.