Pépé Kallé Biography, Age, Family, Life, Career, Death, Songs and News

Pépé Kallé Biography

Pépé Kallé, sometimes written was a soukous singer, musician, and bandleader from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Pépé Kallé was born Kabasele Yampanya in Kinshasa (then Léopoldville) in the Belgian Congo but later assumed his pseudonym in homage to his mentor, Le Grand Kallé.

Pépé Kallé Age

Pépé Kallé was born on 30 November 1951,He died on Nov 28, 1998 age 46.

Pépé Kallé Family

His family was from Léopoldville, Belgian Congo

Pépé Kallé Wife

He is survived by his wife and five children.


Pépé Kallé Life

With a multi-octave vocal range and a dynamic stage presence, the 190 cm (6 ft 3 in) and 136 kg (300 lb) vocalist recorded more than three hundred songs and twenty albums[citation needed] During his two-decade-long career. Known affectionately as “the elephant of African music” and “La Bombe Atomique,”[citation needed] Kallé entertained audiences with his robust performances. The guitarist was Solomon.

Pépé Kallé Musical Career

His musical career started with African Jazz, the band of Le Grand Kallé. He later performed in Bella Bella and became the lead singer of Lipua Lipua, where he sang alongside Nyboma Mwandido. In 1972, Kallé along with Dilu Dilumona and Papy Tex, left Lipua Lipua to form their own band named Empire Bakuba. Empire Bakuba took its name from a Congolese warrior tribe, and it pointedly incorporated rootsy rhythms from the interior, sounds that had long been sidelined by popular rumba. The band was an instant hit, and together with Zaiko Langa Langa, they became Kinshasa’s most popular youth band. With hits such as Pépé Dadou and Papy Tex’s Sango ya mama, the band was a constant fixture on the charts. They also created a new dance, the kwassa kwassa.

On their tenth anniversary in 1982, the band was voted Zaire’s top group. Throughout the early 1980s, Empire Bakuba continued to tour extensively while releasing no less than four albums a year. By the mid-eighties, they had a large following throughout Francophone Central and West Africa. His 1986 collaboration with Nyboma labeled Zouke zouk was one of the years top-selling albums.[citation needed] But it was his second collaboration with Nyboma, Moyibi (1988), which launched his popularity throughout Africa.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Kallé fused elements of the fast-paced version of soukous produced in Paris studios. His 1990 album, Roger Milla – a tribute to the exploits of the great Camerounian footballer, is a classic example of this arrangement.

In 1992 the band faced its first major calamity when Emory, the band’s dancing dwarf, died while on tour in Botswana. Despite this setback,  Kallé’s popularity continued to soar in the nineties as he released albums like Gigantafrique, Larger than life and Cocktail. He also collaborated with other legends like Lutumba Simaro and Nyoka Longo.

Pépé Kallé Death

Pépé Kallé died of a heart attack on November 28, 1998.at Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Pépé Kallé Funeral

The Democratic Republic of Congo minister of culture and arts, Juliana Lumumba, announced Monday that the government would hold an official funeral for musician Kabasele Yampanya Wa Bamulanga, popularly known as Pepe Kalle, who died Saturday night of heart attack in Kinshasa.

In a condolence message, the minister said that Pepe Kalle’s death was a great loss for Congolese and African music.

Pepe Kalle Songs

  1. Allo Cherie
  2. Beli Seyo
  3. Bitota
  4. Don’t Cry Dube
  5. Guy Guy Madimba
  6. Karibu
  7. Keba Na Mopepe
  8. Muana M’Mobowa
  9. Muyenga
  10. Nonga Aime
  11. Pedro
  12. Rigo Teka
  13. Roger Milla ( 2 )
  14. Shikamo Seye
  15. Young Africa


  1. Nazingi Mabok
  2. Zouke – Zouke
  3. Dodo Limbisa Ngai
  4. Reviens Alima
  5. Pamelo Okemema Ngambo
  6. Tika Makanisi

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Pépé Kallé News

Remembering the gentle giant of Congo music
Saturday marks exactly 17 years since burly Congolese musician Pepe Kalle Yampanya died.

He is credited with some great compositions, but also for nurturing several people with growth disabilities into celebrities. Thanks to Pepe , Ayilla Emoro became a household name in Congo and elsewhere in East and Central Africa. Other ‘small’ stars brought to the limelight included dancers Jolie Bebe and Dominic Mabwa, who made a huge physical contrast with the burly Pepe Kalle.

Fondly referred to as ‘Le Elephant’ due to his massive size and giant legs,  Kalle not only had a melodious voice, but was also a master of the stage show. It was comical sometimes to see him cuddling the small dancers, who remained an integral part of his concerts. Emoro suffered a fatal heart attack during a tour of Zambia and Botswana in the early 1990s, a massive blow to the band, but Pepe Kalle soldiered on.

The spirit and legacy of his Grand Empire Bakuba band are still alive with some former members of the band resident in Kinshasa while others are based in Europe.

Pepe Kalle will be remembered for some of his big Soukous beat songs such as Moyibi, Roger Milla (in praise of Cameroonian soccer legend Roger Milla), and the highly sentimental Tika Makanisi.

At the advent of the ‘Kwasa Kwasa’ dancing style in the early 1990s, Pepe  was among the artistes who popularised it across Africa.

Speaking to the Saturday Nation from Kinshasa earlier this week, Lofombo Gode, who was a bass guitarist of the Grand Empire Bakuba band, said the highlight of the event will be a visit to Pepe Kalle’s graveside in Matonge.

Later, former band members will attend Mass at a Catholic church in the Bandal suburb.

Later this evening, Lofombo hinted that there would be a special show at the Bandal Centre in Kinshasa.

Among those expected to take part are Dilu Dilumona, Djo Djo Ikomo, who had a stint with Franco Luambo Makiadi’s TP OK Jazz. Ikomo performed in Kenya in the 70s with Bana Ngenge and Les Noirs. Also expected is yet another of the ‘small’ dancers, Dominic Mabwa.