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"Music has taken Congo’s Mapumba around the world"

Congolese songwriter Mapumba is one of the strongest new voices out of Africa, an artist who knows what he wants and won’t accept compromises. When he couldn’t find a producer who shared his musical vision, he decided to make his debut album on his own. This entailed not only financing the project but studying sound engineering and building a home studio—then playing every instrument on the 12 original compositions.

Life has brought many challenges to the resourceful Mapumba—born Dieu Merci Mapumba Cilombo in the Democratic Republic of Congo. “When I was 13, my parents sent me away to escape tribal genocide against our people, the Kasai,” says Mapumba, now 28, reached in Puerto Rico just before the start of his first North American tour. “I joined my elder brother in Zambia to finish my schooling, and while studying I also taught myself how to play music.”

Mapumba bought a decrepit piano and tuned it, then learned musical notation from some old books he found. “I worked out how to read and write chords and things, and managed to buy a secondhand guitar, which I practised on wherever I went. I decided music was my trip, and eight years ago I moved to South Africa.

“I went to Cape Town, where I still live,” Mapumba continues. “It’s a very different place from other African cities and there’s a lively jazz scene. I met many musicians who gave me tips to increase my skills, particularly on guitar. Cape Town has also provided access for me to a more ‘First World’ way of approaching the music industry. And at the same time, I’m able to go back to where my parents live in the Congo and gain inspiration from listening to our traditional Kasai music, mutuashi.”

On his self-titled 2006 debut, Mapumba brings together musical elements from a variety of sources—mutuashi dance rhythms, Congolese rumba soukous, R & B, soul, jazz, and several West African styles—to create a sound that’s uniquely his own. He sings in Tshiluba, Swahili, English, and French, in a rich and supple voice.

Mapumba made waves in world-music circles in South Africa, and eventually reached the ears of the Cape Town–based sales-and-marketing manager for New York–based Putumayo Records. “We were introduced by my former manager and became good friends,” Mapumba notes. “She really loved the album, and played it for the people at the label’s headquarters.”

Putumayo’s founder and CEO, Dan Storper, was so impressed that he featured two of the songs on the label’s latest compilation discs, African Party and African Dreamland. He also invited Mapumba to tour in promotion of the company’s 15th anniversary.

“I’ll be playing acoustic guitar only at these shows,” Mapumba says. “Many songs will be from a new album I’m working on back home. It’s been almost 10 years since I began my professional career, and finally it’s all coming together for me. My aim is to bring Congolese music to the world, and to bring the world to a new form of Congolese music.”


Mapumba has released one 11 track album and as of this writing, he has one other album on the way.
he is currently being played amongst others, on



Singing in French, English, Chiluba and Swahili, Mapumba's debut album has been described by the Cape Times as...” a brilliantly self produced and self composed album with a fantastic combination of beautiful ballads and some groovy upbeat African themes. All Diversely blended by his rich soothing velvet voice." His music is a mature sound inspired by different styles from his ethnic elements to funk, Rumba, Reggae and soul music. All blended by his rich velvet voice and a unique style of musical arrangement. Mapumba sings about personal stories of his life and moral issues most of all portraying the message of love and unity. Born Dieu Merci Mapumba Cilombo in a small town of Kolwezi in DR Congo, Mapumba’s childhood was one filled with political and social instability. Around the age of thirteen when a deadly tribal conflict broke out, Mapumba was sent to Zambia by his family where he finished his higher education. With such an uncertain life Mapumba found refuge in music by teaching himself in voice, guitar and piano through out high school and college. Eventually Mapumba embarked on a quest to find a place that could let him make music his career. In the year 2000 he arrived in the city of Cape town South Africa with a guitar as his only companion. Here Mapumba exposed himself to various styles of music and performances to learn as much as he could in becoming an inspiring singer, song writer, composer, producer and a multi instrumentalist whose creativity evolves with every single performance.
A show by this artist entails a wide spectrum of rich beautiful music accompanied by by alot of heavy crowd jumping, dancing and screaming.