Rolling Stone (6/1/95, p.62) - "...[Papa Wemba moves] away from a hard-core Zairean sound into smoother, international Afro pop with touches of funk and soul....not the first African artist to attempt to internationalize his sound, but he's the rare artist who pulls it off..."
Q (5/95, p.110) - 4 Stars - "...this gets as close as almost anyone to the state of the art."
JazzTimes (6/95, p.86) - "...an Afro-pop project that unapologetically criss-crosses African and American vocabularies and goes down easily....dance-happy world music..."
Personnel: Papa Wemba, Juliet Roberts (vocals); Maika Munn, Maurice Poto (guitar, keyboards, background vocals); Lokua Kanza (guitar, background vocals); Stephen Hague (accordion); The Kick Horns (horns); Christian Polloni (keyboards, background vocals); Jean-Philippe Rykiel (keyboards); Lokua Kanza (bass, percussion); Noel Ekwabi (bass); Andy Duncan (drums, percussion); Paco Sery (drums); Xavier Jouvelet, Udoh Essieh (percussion); Anne Papiri, Julia Sarr (background vocals).
Engineers include: Ben Findlay, Alex Firla, Stan Loubieres.
Recorded at Real World Studios, Box, England and Guillaume Tell Studios, Paris, France. Includes liner notes by Paul Bradshaw.
Personnel: Papa Wemba (vocals); Maurice Poto, Maika Munan (guitar, keyboards, background vocals); Lokua Kanza (guitar, background vocals); Stephen Hague (accordion, programming); The Kick Horns (horns); Christian Polloni (keyboards, background vocals); Jean-Philippe Rykiel (keyboards); Andy Duncan (drums, percussion); Paco Sery (drums); Udo Essieh, Xavier Jouvelet (percussion); Anne Papiri, Julia Sarr (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Stephen Hague.
Liner Note Author: Paul Bradshaw.
Recording information: Guillaume Tell Studios, Paris; RAK Studios, London; Real World Studios, Box, England.
Photographer: Steve Pyke.
Arranger: Lokua Kanza.
Long a favorite among Afro-pop aficionados, Zairean expatriate Papa Wemba made a major push for worldwide recognition with this 1995 release. At the time a resident of Paris, the artist enlisted the aid of Brit-pop producer Stephen Hague (New Order, Pet Shop Boys) in hopes of making Emotion a crossover success, a move that alienated some purist fans of more traditional African sounds. But in mixing his unique brand of African soukous with various Western influences, Papa Wemba took a bold step into the international pop market already populated by Senegalese singing sensations Youssou N'Dour and Baaba Maal, whose albums enjoyed the type of commercial success few world music releases can even aspire to. Under Hague's guidance, Papa Wemba's majestic vocals shine in the spotlight, flowing smoothly over each universally accessible, groove-laden track like the sweetest honey. By the time he reaches an immensely soulful cover of Otis Redding's "Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song)," it's obvious that Papa Wemba was destined to be a star. ~ Bret Love