Congolese crooner General Defao dies at 62

Tuesday December 28 2021
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Congolese singer General Defao. PHOTO | FILE

By Nation. Africa

Congolese singer Lulendo Matumona, popularly known as General Defao, has passed away.

He died Monday evening in Douala, Cameroon, where he had gone to perform over the festive period.

His family, while confirming his demise, said his health was in decline although the exact cause of his death is not yet known.

A successful star in the 1990s, General Defao had left his country in the early 2000s to settle in Kenya where some said he was in political exile.

Upon returning to the DRC in August 2019, the singer denied that his absence from the country for more than 15 years was politically-related.

But according to some Congolese observers, the singer was very opposed to former president Joseph Kabila.


Musical career

Defao was born on December 31, 1959. He entered the musical world in 1976 when he was only 17-years-old.

He quickly became famed for his beautiful voice, elegant look and for being a very good dancer despite his large frame.

The young Defao began his career after joining the Grand Zaϊko Wawa orchestra led by guitarist Pépé Felly Manuaku in 1981.

In 1983, Defao left the band for Ben Nyamabo's Choc Stars. He sang alongside Bozi Boziana, Lassa Carlyto, Debaba, Djuna Djanna, Nzaya Nzayadio.

In 1991, he founded Big Stars Orchestra, after which Defao multiplied his performances and albums.

Around the year 2000, Big Stars Orchestra ran into serious difficulties. With its musicians scattered all over the world, General Defao withdrew to Africa, specifically to Kenya.

Later, upon returning to the DRC, he attempted to relaunch his musical career and had been performing across the region.