Entertainment

Leading West African singer DJ Arafat dies in road crash

Leading West African singer DJ Arafat dies in road crash

ABIDJAN (AFP) - DJ Arafat, an Ivorian singer with a huge following in francophone Africa, has died after a road accident in Abidjan, the state broadcaster RTI said on Monday.

"Death of artist DJ Arafat... today at 8am as a result of a road accident overnight," it tweeted.

According to messages and pictures circulating on social media, he had been driving a motorbike and smashed into a car. Critically injured, the singer, 33, was taken to an Abidjan hospital, where he later died.

Born in Abidjan in 1986, DJ Arafat -- real name Ange Didier Huon -- had a massive audience in French-speaking western and central African countries.

He issued 11 albums, mainly of "coupe-decale" -- a dance music form combining rapid percussion, choppy rhythms with hip hop-style vocals.

"We are all in shock," Ickx Fontaine, an Ivorian producer and specialist in hip hop told AFP. "He was a real singer and a drummer... he gave a new breath of life to coupe-decale."

Later on Monday, around 1,000 fans gathered, weeping and chanting "Arafat cannot die" in front of the hospital in Abidjan s Cocody suburb where the singer died, AFP reporters at the scene said.

Ivorian Culture Minister Maurice Kouakou Bandaman expressed his condolences and said a tribute would be held to honour the musician.

The high-octane music often using electronic sounds was born in 2003 in Ivorian nightclubs but quickly spread throughout Africa. DJ Arafat s fame expanded to Europe and the United States, thanks in part to sports stars who made some of the genre s dance steps popular.

DJ Arafat was named "Best Artist of the Year" at the Ivorian "Coupe-decale" Awards in 2016 and 2017.

He was born in the music world. His mother was a well-known singer and his father a prominent sound engineer, one music manager said. He started as a DJ in Yopougon, one of Abidjan s night-life districts.

"He had a natural charisma," said Ozone, a hip hop producer and television host. "He will remain a force for Ivorian and African music."