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Last Updated: Friday, 18 November 2005, 16:47 GMT
Soukous dance king rules Kinshasa
Tabu Ley Rochereau on his album Karibou Ya Bintou
Tabu Ley Rochereau is one of Africa's most influential musicians
The king of Democratic Republic of Congo's raunchy "soukous" music is the new deputy governor of the capital.

Veteran musician Tabu Ley Rochereau told the BBC he wanted to use his skills as a performer to improve the atmosphere in Kinshasa.

"I know what I can do. It's like when you sing a good song - you can change a situation completely," he said.

Soukous comes from the French word for shake "secouer" and its dancers are renowned for their erotic moves.

He and his team will have to maintain peace in Kinshasa, in the run-up to a long-awaited elections next year.

After years of conflict, music is one of DR Congo's few unifying factors and musicians are often regarded as national heroes.


"I'd prefer to stay a musician," he told the BBC's Network Africa programme after his appointment this week.

A lot of them have money but they spend it on themselves
Tabu Ley Rochereau

"But there're a lot of political and social problems and my country invited me to go into politics," he said.

Mr Rochereau, who is one of Africa's most influential vocalists and prolific songwriters, said he wanted to change the selfish attitude of his people and make them invest in the country's future.

"I know my people, a lot of them have money, but they spend it on themselves. We can tell them to change this mentality."

It was foolish, he said, to spend money on expensive cars, when there are no good roads.

Mr Rochereau went into exile during Mobutu Sese Seko's rule and returned after his overthrow.

His Afrisa International band were renowned in the 1980s for their spectacular stage performances and his female dancers became known as the Rochereaurettes.


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