Papa Wemba at Bercy, New Year's Eve 2001

People came from virtually every corner of the world to witness a New Year's Eve Event billed as a grand African event, and grand (and in some cases, over the top) it was except for a very modest crowd which could not adequately fill Bercy Stadium's cavernous core in Paris.  Reports of the event were quite conflicting, particularly in the days following the show, and for this reason we at decided to let our heads clear in order to come up with an adequate way of reporting this event.  The most fitting tribute, we decided, was an archive photo gallery.

All photos below are taken by Hortense Fuller of, and unauthorized use of photographs without prior written consent is forbidden.  If interested in photos, please contact direct at  to discuss

Wendo made a special and historic performance alongside Papa Wemba  
The actual concert consisted of several opening acts, particularly interesting were Congolese diva M'bilia Bel and Petit Pays from Cameroon.  The big show, however, was Papa Wemba's larger than life entourage including Nouvelle Ecrita, Cour des Grands, his dancing troupes and finally a medley of gospel singers and leading session musicians.  Unfortunately, the untimely delay of an African fashion show (originally scheduled as an opening act) meant that festival organizers re-scheduled it to occur smack in the middle of two sizzling sets by Wemba with Nouvelle Ecrita.  A disappointing diversion from some very interesting musical moments.

We were able to capture shots of Wendo, the legendary father of Congolese music, as he joined the stage with Papa Wemba.  It was a nostalgic and special moment, which alone made the entire event worthwhile.  

Like many in the crowd, we were disappointed with several aspects of the show, but also thrilled to have supported the idea and to have witnessed select moments from that night which will forever remain in our memory.  The other moments, in the end, will just fade into the past.  Thus, is proud to present a photo gallery of the best moments from long and diverse night of music, dancing, fashion and culture.   











Cour des Grands