Ms. Muana maintained a long and prolific career, releasing nearly two dozen albums and performing in Africa, Europe and the United States. The percolating grooves of her songs fused mutuashi rhythms with salsa, Congolese soukous and other African and Caribbean rhythms, deploying synthesizers and horns alongside traditional percussion. One of her most highly regarded albums, “Mutuashi,” was released in the United States in 1996.
Her songs often carried messages of ethical uplift and social criticism, at times veiled in metaphor. At her concerts, which brought her to stadiums across Africa, she was renowned for dancing that fans considered sexy and detractors considered vulgar. In 2003 she shared the Kora All Africa Music Award for best female central African artist with another Congolese singer, M’bilia Bel.
In November 2020, Ms. Muana released her last single, “Ingratitude,” a song chiding someone for disloyalty to a mentor. She was arrested and imprisoned, apparently because Congo’s president, Félix Tshisekedi, believed the song was criticizing him for breaking away from Joseph Kabila, Congo’s former president, whom Ms. Muana had supported. She was released within a day, and Mr. Mashala, her producer and companion, said at the time that the song was aimed more generally at a lifetime of betrayals by people and corporations.
Ms. Muana had no children. Information on survivors other than Mr. Mashala was not immediately available.
Although Ms. Muana championed her Kasai roots, she strongly supported multicultural unity for her strife-torn country.
“In Congo there is no love for each other, no one has the country at heart,” she told The Observer, a Ugandan newspaper, in 2009. “We were elected to Parliament to represent our cultures and musicians, but the primary assignment was teaching love.”