King of Zouk Oliver N’goma passes on

Wednesday June 9 2010

By Robert Kalumba


Renowned Gabonese Zouk artiste Oliver N’goma has died. Ngoma died on Monday in the wee hours of the morning at Omar Bongo Hospital in Libreville, Gabon. He suffered kidney failure, an ailment he had battled for the last two years.
Nicknamed Noli, N’goma was born in 1959 in a musical family.

His father was a renowned harmonica player. This music affiliation rubbed onto the young N’goma rather profoundly forcing the artiste to abandon the photography training he was undergoing in France in 1988 and pursue music full time.

It is this that gave birth to the album Bane. To many Ugandans, Bane was and still is their Zouk anthem. It is the song that propelled N’goma from a music upstart, to superstar. The album became one of the best sellers to this day in African music history.

Oliver shines
From there on N’goma’s light shone on with the artiste releasing more classics like Adia, Julia and Icole among others. His music was catchy and when his songs were played, it was hard for one to remain seated. His music was categorised as Afro-Zouk, a sound that dominated the music scene in the 90’s and N’goma was one of its most renowned promoters. He last came to Uganda in 2003 which was his third visit to the country. His last performance was in Libreville last Saturday where he was celebrating a book that had been written about his musical journey.