viva la musica
Pre Nouvelle Generation split: Wemba & Viva La Musica in concert
Forum de Grenelle Paris 1991

L-R: Fataki, Luciana, Reddy, Lydjo, Stino,
Aside from his international solo career, Papa Wemba has maintained Viva La Musica as a separate entity specifically for his African fan base. Way back in 1988, Viva's musicians began using the name Viva La Musica - Made in France. The name then changed to Viva La Musica - La Nouvelle Génération à Paris; and after many further suffix changes, the present full title of Wemba's European-based Viva is Viva La Musica - Cour Des Grands.
In keeping with the orchestra's previous phenomenal output, a consistent stream of new release Viva LPs (six to eight per year) and videos, as well as collaborations with former Zaïko colleagues, have been appearing from the studios and concert halls of Paris and Brussels since 1987. Wemba features on all. He has also undertaken African tours with Viva La Musica, and the European-based Viva La Musica - Cour de Grands regularly play concerts in most of the capital cities of Europe that host Congolese communities.
In early 1992, a serious internal problem surfaced within Viva La Musica when several of the band's oldest members defected to form a new orchestra calling itself La Nouvelle Génération de la République Démocratique (NGRD). One of the main reasons for the split was the lack of opportunity Europe offers to Zairian musicians who, had they been still in Kinshasa, would have been working most days and, by all accounts, be enjoying a much better lifestyle. Many of the musicians had also brought their wives and families with them to Europe, and found it difficult to provide a steady financial income. They also found themselves without steady work for prolonged periods when Wemba was touring internationally with his second orchestra, Molokai International. Although initially NGRD enjoyed a brief period of success, unfortunately they soon discovered that life without Wemba wasn't so different and, within two years, the band was pretty much facing the same financial problems as before.
papa wemba
viva la musica
Wemba & Timololo 1991
Today's European Viva consists of many star names, most of whom have been an integral part of the line-up going way back to after the 1982 split. Singers such as Reddy Amisi, Stino Mubi, Luciana (now a solo artist), Lydjo Kwempa and Gloria have grown up in Viva and are today as well known to the younger generations of fans as Papa himself.
Viva La Musica 'For Idols' concert, Paris, 1994 (L-R: Gloria, Wemba, Djanana. Cele Le Roi)
Through recent changes in the orchestra's sound, developed with producer and arranger Maika Munan, Wemba has kept himself firmly at the forefront of African music, and recent LPs such as For Idoles (1994), Pole Position (1995) and his 1996 solo collaboration with fellow Zairian composer Koffi Olomide, Wake Up, as well as his Real World work, have all brought him many awards from the Pan-African music industries in the forms of 'Maracas D'Or' (equivalent to a European or US Grammy award).