Gaspard Wuta Mayi, commonly known as Wuta Mayi, is a soukous recording artist, composer and vocalist, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). He was once a member of the soukous band TPOK Jazz, led by François Luambo Makiadi, which dominated the Congolese music scene from the 1960s through the 1980s.
Wuta Mayi was born at Leopold General Hospital in then Leopoldville on 9 August 1949. He was given the name Gaspard soon after bith. Later as a child, the name Paschal was added, after his maternal grandfather Pascal Gaspard Mayandi.
He went to school in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the largest city in that country. He studied at Josephine Charlotte School for his elementary education, continuing on to Saint Andre, a technical school in Limete. He finished his education at the Ateneo in Ngiri Ngiri.
In 1967, at the age of 18, while still a student at the Josephine Charlotte School, he joined the band known as Jamel Nationale, based in the town of Dendal. Other band members included the vocalist Aime Kiwakana also known as Emmanuel Kiala, with whom he became friends and who also sang with TPOK Jazz at one time. Other musicians who made their start at Jamel Nationale included saxophonist Empompo Loway, guitarists Bavo Marie-Marie (a brother of François Luambo Makiadi), Makosso, Dave Makondele and vocalists Marcel Loko a.k.a.Djeskain, Djo Mpoyi and others. While at Jamel, a member of his family named him Blaise and was referred to as Blaise Pasco from then on.
Early professional career:
Wuta Mayi began his professional career in the orchestra Bamboula in 1968. The orchestra was created that same year by guitarist Anthony Nedule Papa Noel. Another of the band members was guitarist, Paul Mansiamina Mfoko a.k.a. Bopol. Bopol Mansiamina was born in Leopoldville on July 26, 1949, and like Wuta Mayi, he had just started his professional career after high school. Orchestra Bamboula made its official debut in February 1969 in the town of Limete. Band members included Wuta Mayi, Aime Kiwakana, Pires and Tino Mwinkwa as vocalists, Jeff Lunam on saxophone, Mangenza on drums, Bopol Mansiamina on rhythm guitar and, Papa Noel on lead guitar. That same year, orchestra Bamboula was selected to represent the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the first Pan-African Festival of Culture in Algiers, Algeria. The band known as Bantous de la Capitale represented the Republic of the Congo (Congo-Brazzaville). While on that trip, Wuta Mayi turned twenty years old.
After several changes of bands, including one he formed (Orchestra Continentale), Wuta Mayi joined TPOK Jazz in 1974, after an invitation relayed through Josky Kiambukuta, with whom they had played in Orchestra Continentale. Around this time, the Authenticity Program imposed by the then President, Mobutu Sese Seko, Pascal became Wuta Mayandi Yundula, Josky Kiambukuta became Kiambukuta Londa and Franco became Luambo Luanzo Makiadi.
Career with TPOK Jazz:
Wuta Mayi played with OK Jazz from 1974 until the early 1980s. Other vocalists in the band at that time included Josky Kiambukuta, Michel Boyibanda, Youlou Mabiala, Ndombe Opetum and Aime Kiwakana. Wuta Mayi is credited to have composed a number of songs while there, including the following:
Melou - In 1975,
Basala la vie - In 1978,
Ayant Droit - In 1980,
Beyou - In 1980,
Tuti - In 1981,
Career after TPOK Jazz:
It is not clear when he left the band. However, by the time of Franco's death in 1989, Wuta Mayi had left TPOK Jazz. He relocated to Paris, France. In the mid 1990s, he, with others formed the band Odemba. However the band failed to fully launch due to lack of funds.
In the early 200s, Wuta Mayi, Nyboma, Djeskain Loko Massengo, Sammy Bumba Massa, Papa Noel Nedule and Jean-Papy Ramazani formed a band called Kékélé that has toured extensively in Europe and North America. Kékélé means "vines that are used in villages in Africa to make connections". The band plays entirely using acoustic guitars, drums and percussions.