"I don't do Afropop but tokooos, international urban Congolese music". Tokooos is a word of his own invention, derived from kitoko which means "beautiful" or "positive" in Lingala. A concept to describe his music, deeply rooted in the bowels of Kinshasa and its Congolese rumba, but whose ramifications extend from Lagos pop to American hip-hop. And it is with this ragingly modern style that Fally Ipupa has conquered the world.
Because with him, we are talking about a destiny, a dazzling success story. In 20 years, he has gone from a young protégé of the famous Koffi Olomidé to an international superstar. Alongside the Duke Booba, the diva Aya Nakamura, the master of Afro-trap MHD, the R&B baron R. Kelly and his friend, Afropop legend Wizkid, he transcends genres with ease, breaking down the doors of the music industry to put Central Africa at the forefront.
Always dressed like a prince, with sunglasses and an unprecedented sense of fashion, Fally Ipupa tells tales of love with his suave voice and rhythms that draw on the traditional music of his country: ekonda, luban, mukaji, which he mixes as if they had always coexisted with urban or electronic sounds. And this is the key to his success. "For nothing in the world will I neglect my core, demanding and chauvinistic audience. I want to transcend our culture to take it further and present it to the whole world," he explains.
The bet is 10,000% successful for the man who would not leave his hometown for anything in the world. Kinshasa is his essence, a city that lives at 100 km/hour and from which he cannot leave for too long. It is there that he creates, with a perfectionism that distinguishes him and that is also found in his live performances. Because on stage, Fally Ipupa becomes a real showman, an ambassador of languorous songs and his culture to the four corners of the globe.
He began by playing in the streets of Kinshasa with his group of friends. But fate had other plans for Fally Ipupa, whose voice fell into the ear of Congolese star Koffi Olomidé. In 1999, he integrated him into his group, Quartier Latin, and the following year he played his first Bercy concert. But the singer had other desires and dreamed big. In 2006, he went solo and his country discovered this warm voice, which sings of love like no other on the rhythms that make Congolese rumba so endearing. In just a few months, he exploded onto the scene, following in the footsteps of the great masters of Afropop.
Once launched, there is no stopping the artist who intends to make his mark on his generation. His music, a mix of traditional and urban sounds, is making all of Africa move. And all over the world, people identify with this young singer who delivers modern compositions without ever denying his roots. In 2014, he was invited to the White House by President Obama following his nomination as the best artist of Central Africa.
Tokooos, in reference to his unique style, is surely the album that finally established Fally Ipupa as an international legend of African music. With this production, he became the first Congo-based artist to win a gold record in France. A huge success that he achieved in front of 20,000 people. Twenty years after he performed with Koffi OIomidé, this time it is he and he alone that the French are coming to give a standing ovation at Bercy!
It's incredible to see Fally Ipupa, already a superstar in Africa, come and sing his Tokooos in France. You have to see his show on stage and the complicity he has with his musicians and dancers. You find yourself in one of the parties that only Kinshasa has the secret of and you come out with a smile on your face and the desire to dance again and again.
In his country, Fally Ipupa is a legend and in the world, he is an international star! When we saw him fill Bercy, we knew that France recognised him as such. With a grandiose show, he carries the voice of Congo, a warm and exquisite voice that delivers messages of love and tolerance on a rumba that leans towards hip-hop and electro. A universal music, which invites you to sway to the end of the night.
A child prodigy on the Kinshasa music scene, Fally Ipupa is the only artist in French-speaking Africa to play on a par with Nigerian Afropop stars such as Wizkid and Davido, who have made Abidjan obsolete and established Lagos as the African capital of urban music.