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Congo music star Papa Wemba dies after stage collapse

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ABIDJAN — Papa Wemba, one of Africa’s greatest music stars, has died after collapsing on stage during a festival in Ivory Coast. He was 66.

The Congolese world music legend was renowned as the “king of Congolese rumba” for the fusion of Cuban and electronic rock that he pioneered in the 1970s.

He died after falling sick during a set at the Urban Musical Festival Anoumabo (FEMUA) in Abidjan, the first major cultural event in the country since a jihadist attack on a beach resort last month.

Video footage broadcast live on television showed the dramatic moment that Papa Wemba — wearing a bold black and white patterned tunic and oversized bowler hat — slumped to the floor behind a group of dancers, before performers rushed to his aid.

FEMUA organisers expressed “deep sorrow” at the death of a man who has been at the forefront of African music for more than four decades.

“Papa Wemba wanted to die on stage, that’s what he told me two weeks ago when I spoke to him on the phone,” said festival promoter and singer Salif Traore, known as A’Salfo.

A’Salfo, lead singer with the Ivorian group Magic System, said he understood Papa Wemba died on the way to hospital and that a journalist who interviewed him earlier in the day had noticed that he appeared unwell.

“[The journalist] told me that Papa Wemba was showing signs of fatigue. He was drinking water between every sentence,” A’Salfo said.

The festival was held just over a month after the Islamist attack on the beach resort of Grand-Bassam on March 13 that left 19 people dead.

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US judge dismisses Taylor Swift ‘Shake It Off’ copyright lawsuit

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LOS ANGELES — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit accusing singer Taylor Swift of stealing lyrics for her song ‘Shake It Off’ on Tuesday ruling the phrases in question were not sufficiently original to merit copyright protection.

Songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler brought the suit last fall, arguing that the chorus of the song borrowed from their 2001 composition, ‘Playas Gon’ Play’.

In his ruling, Judge Michael W Fitzgerald held that combining the phrases, ‘Playas gonna play’ and ‘haters gonna hate,’ does not entail sufficient originality to warrant copyright protection, Variety reported.

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Swift’s 2014 song reached No 1 on the pop charts and marked her evolution from country to pop music.

Swift’s lyrics from the chorus of ‘Shake It Off’ are, ‘the players gonna play, play, play, play, play, and the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.’

Attorneys for Swift asked US District Judge Michael Fitzgerald in January to dismiss the case.

“In order for such short phrases to be protected under the Copyright Act, they must be more creative than the lyrics at issue here,” Fitzgerald ruled, according to court papers.

The songwriters who sued Swift did not allege Swift’s song stole musical elements, the judge said, and phrases about players and haters existed in pop culture before 2001.

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