Kitoko! That's Congolese Lingala slang for "very cool." And Congolese soukous superstar Koffi Olomide was very kitoko Saturday night in New York, kicking off his first U.S. tour in 20 years, drawing an adoring, mainly diaspora audience. Olomide regularly sells out stadium shows in both francophone and anglophone Africa (most recently in Botswana and Namibia). And he appeals both to his original, now mature audience as well as young fans. Olomide has also mentored the next generation of Congolese artists such as superstars Fally Ipupa and Cindy Le Coeur.
Olomide kicked off his current North American concert tour, his first in 20 years, in a grooving concert featuring his 10 dancers and tight band Quartier Latin showing off his trademark tcha tcho style in an evening produced by Lenoir Entertainment on Saturday, Nov. 5th at Webster Hall in New York City.
Afropop Worldwide honored Koffi Olomide Saturday night by inducting him into the Afropop Hall of Fame for Lifetime Achievement, co-presented by Afropop’s Sean Barlow and Tabilulu Productions president Lubangi Muniania. Honorees are selected both for their artistic excellence and for their major impact in bringing African music and culture to the world. Past inductees include Youssou N'Dour, Angelique Kidjo, Salif Keita, Oumou Sangare, Harry Belafonte, Oliver Mtukudzi, Thomas Mapfumo, Vusi Mahlasela, the Mahotella Queens, and Dorothy Masuka. Olomide is the first Congolese artist to receive this award.
Peabody Award-winning Afropop Worldwide, hosted by broadcast legend Georges Collinet from Cameroon, and its companion web site, afropop.org, was the first U.S. nationally distributed broadcast platform dedicated to African music and stories. Launched in 1988 by National Public Radio (NPR) Afropop Worldwide continues to be the only national broadcast platform in the U.S. for African music. The Afropop Hall of Fame for Lifetime Achievement is the only nationally based U.S. awards ceremony celebrating African artists.