PARIS (AP) — Manu Dibango, who fused African rhythms with funk to become one of the most influential musicians in world dance music has died with the coronavirus. He was 86.
Born in Cameroon, he studied classical piano and music theory in Paris and Brussels. He began playing jazz saxophone in the 50s and gained international fame with his 1972 song “Soul Makossa.”
The song has been sampled by dozens of hip-hop artists.
Dibango made entertainment headlines in the U.S. after he sued Michael Jackson and Rihanna for sampling his music. Jackson’s “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin” on his record-setting “Thriller” album quoted a refrain from Soul Makossa. Jackson’s estate settled out of court, according to the New York Times.
According to Dibango’s music publisher he died in a hospital in the Paris region.
Funeral services will be “held in strict privacy” followed by a tribute “when possible.”
Funerals in France have been limited to 20 people who are in the closest circle of the deceased because of a lockdown to try to slow the spread of COVID-19.
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