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Another blow to the African Music and Rhumba fans around the world is the latest news about the death of the Trio Madjesi Sinatra, Saak Saakul.
Reports reaching The Tanzania Times on Sunday, March 19, 2023, revealed that the baritone voiced Saakul, passed away in Holland (Netherlands), where he had been living since leaving DR Congo.
He was one-third of the Trio Madjesi, a music group founded in 1972 then disappeared in 1976 before making a fresh comeback in the 1980s.
They were extremely popular in Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) in the 1970s and 80s.
The Trio Madjesi was formed by the three singers and songwriters, Mario aka Buana Kitoko, Loko Masengo Djeskain and Bonghat Tshekabu who was popularly known as Saak Saakul or Sinatra.
The three singers evolved within the Congolese urban groups of the 1960s in the then Zaire.
The Madjesi Trio was accompanied by the Sosoliso orchestra whose influences were rather jazz and soul.
As for the group name, Trio meant ‘Three,’ while Madjesi is the acronym of their three names: MA was taken from Mario Matadidi Mabele, DJE was lifted from Djeskain and SI were the first two letters of the name ‘Sinatra,’ the other pseudonym of Saak Saakul.
Previously Mario Matadidi Mabele, Djeskain and Saak Saakul were all part of the Orchestra Veve, founded, owned and led by Kiamuangwana Mateta or Veve Verkys.
The trio fell out with Veve and left the orchestra to form their own group which became rather too famous.
So big it was such that it threatened other bigger acts such as Tabuley’s Afrisa International, Franco’s TP Ok Jazz and their former ensemble, Orchestra Veve.
In fact the Madjesi Trio was so popular such that during one of their concerts in Kinshasa in 1974 thousands of fans thronged the venue with hundred others standing on the roof of a church which collapsed and killed more than 50 people.
At the height of their fame, the Madjesi Trio managed to attract the attention of European producers who invited them to perform at the Olympia in Paris. Previously it was only Tabuley who got the honour of playing at Olympia for two consecutive weeks in 1971.
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