A Remembrance of Andre Elombe Badila…

(photo courtesy of Milandou Badila)
(photo courtesy of Milandou Badila)

Story by Tim Livingston

Andre Elombe Badila. Remember the name.

Badila, a Hudson resident who passed away last week, was laid to rest on Monday. A visual artist and performer. A co-founder of the First National Ballet of the Congo. A co-founder (with his wife Pamela) of the Diata Diata International Folkloric Theatre. The man was all of this and much more. Most importantly he was a husband, father, inspiration, role-model and community leader.

I am sure even if you have never met him you will remember his name due to the legacy he has left behind with his children. The father to a large family consisting of musicians, artists, singers, rappers, boxers, chefs, landscape artists, poets, farmers… dreamers, visionaries, motivators, community leaders, brothers, sisters, parents, role-models and doers… his influence and spirit will live on with this amazing family, each in their own right so inspirational and so beloved by the community.

Last Saturday night the family shared with that community a march and sunset service in honor of his life. With full police escort the Badilas – along with a large contingent coming from all walks of life in the area – lined up at the 7th Street Park in Hudson and wound down Warren Street to the river from where they said goodbye to Elombe with a beautiful ceremony consisting of drumming, singing and remembrance. It was perhaps the most emotional and heartfelt experience I have ever had the honor of witnessing.

The large procession temporarily shut down the main avenue in Hudson as merchants, the fire department (with full color-guard), residents and tourists lined the streets while the family – dressed in traditional African attire – and their friends paraded, drummed, clapped and sang until reaching their final destination in time to witness a brilliant sunset that so matched the fire and passion of the Badila family.

You will hear of this family for years to come and in doing so please remember where they all came from… Andre Elombe Badila.

WRGB-TV (CBS 6 Albany) video coverage
David Lee’s report at The Hudson Register-Star
John Mason’s story at The Hudson Register-Star
Bob Tomaso’s photographs at Hudson.WNYT.com

  1. Mr. Eck says


    I was not familiar with Mr. Badila but you have intrigued me with your beautiful tribute. Nice writing.

  2. TL says

    Thank you Mr. Eck. High praise coming from a writer of your caliber. I knew of Elombe through my friendship with his son Milandou (AKA: Young Paris) and his daughter Ngonda (AKA: Lady Moon) both ultra-talented, multi-dimensional artists. I have never met a more close-knit and spirited family. Inspiring…

  3. michael Jackson says

    a great article on a great man

  4. Alexandre V. Badila says

    Thank you so much for all the support, the kind words and the beautiful article. My father “Elombe” which means “the Invincible” was so, in many ways. He surpassed tremendous adversities to share his gift and his vision with any and everyone. His paintings imbued his spirit, always full of colors, movements and beauty. His drumming awoke the rhythm in peoples’ heart, and his dancing, full of life, moved them gracefully with each step. I will forever miss him and always remember that “Chaque jour a son temps”.

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