first became involved in music playing church organ for five years. By the time he entered college, he was already playing keyboard in Kinshasa clubs for artists like Kalle
, Abeti, M'pongo Love
, and Tabu Ley
. He worked with the Ballet du Zaire and from 1974 to 1978 toured the country studying folklore. He won a Rockefeller grant for study in the U.S. in 1979. Lema's
grounding in folklore and choreography, as well as music, helped him break through in the '80s and maintain a reputation as a soukous musician not content to be pigeonholed in that style. He recently signed with the international label Mango.