OBITUARY: Biggie Tembo

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The Independent Online
The obituary of Biggie Tembo [by Philip Sweeney, 12 August] was a moving tribute to an uplifting character and natural entertainer, writes Andy Kershaw. But the impression that Biggie had an uncontrollable and destructive ego cannot pass unchallenged into the history of African music.

Biggie Tembo's ex-colleagues may have identified an "increasingly extreme opinion of his own self-importance in the group" when they kicked him out of the band but this was, according to Biggie, his tendency to question, occasionally, the policies and decisions of the band's management. True or not, it is only fair that Biggie's own interpretation of events should be put on record.

Biggie was a very bright guy. It was not in his nature to accept everything at face value. During our nine years of friendship I didn't once see any evidence of self-importance or egomania. His moods only became "erratic" after he had been sacked.

As the Bhundus' lead singer, gifted communicator and boyishly ebullient frontman, Biggie Tembo became crucially important to the group. And the Bhundu Boys' track record since his dismissal bears this out.