Coronavirus: Saxophonist Manu Dibango Dies as a Result of Covid-19


The “Grandpa Groove” was 86 years old. He died on Tuesday March 24 as a result of the Covid-19.

Manu Dibango is dead. The family of the singer and saxophonist announced, Tuesday, March 24, his death from the aftermath of Covid-19, coronavirus disease“Dear parents, dear friends, dear fans, a voice rises in the distance… It is with deep sadness that we announce the disappearance of Manu Dibango, our 'Grandpa Groove', which occurred on March 24, 2020 at the age of 86-year-old from Covid-19 ”, she said.

Arrived in Marseille in 1949 when he was a teenager, made Chevalier of the Legion of Honor in 2010, the Cameroonian artist was still in great shape and on tour last year for his 60-year career with his Symphonic Safari mixing jazz and classical music, a program he told us about in July 2019 with his unalterable good humor and dynamism. Manu Dibango was a giant by his size and talent, but also by his kindness and his infectious enthusiasm.

On March 18, the artist's contamination was announced on his Facebook page. But this press release gave us hope that the solid colossus, who had survived more than 86 years of terrestrial life while keeping this stainless peach, would overcome this terrible blow. This will not have been the case. Because of the confinement rules, “The funeral will take place in strict family privacy, and a tribute will be paid to him later as soon as possible”, specifies the family in its press release.

Giant of African music, Manu Dibango is the first personality to succumb to Covid-19 in France.


Born December 12, 1933 in Douala, Cameroon, whose real name is Emmanuel N'Djoké Dibango, throughout a long and dense career, Manu Dibango has dragged his tall figure and his broad smile recognizable among a thousand on the five continents . It was in Europe that he set down his suitcases, settling in France from 1949.

Without Borders

Activist in the abolition of borders between musical genres, he has approached multiple styles, collaborated with great African musicians like Youssou N'Dour and Angélique Kidjo, rock stars like Peter Gabriel and Sting, French singers like Serge Gainsbourg, Nino Ferrer or Dick Rivers, classical musicians, and, of course, jazz people like Herbie Hancock, Bill Laswell or, in France, bassist Jérôme Regard and tubist Didier Havet. In 2007, he paid a record tribute to the American saxophonist Sidney Bechet who, like him, had settled in France. It was with his friend Francis Bebey, a Cameroonian musician and writer, that Manu Dibango discovered jazz in the 50s.

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