Mulemena was one of Zambia's most popular musicians in the '70s, due in part to the fact that he sang in three languages -- Kaonde, Bemba and Nyanja. He was also one of the very first African musicians to use a drum machine, and he is renowned for modernizing the Kaonde "machancha" beat. Mulemena's premature death was rumored to be of AIDS, making him one of the early casualties in an epidemic that has decimated Zambia's population. His band, the Mulemena Boys, carried on for a time until one of the other members also died. A different group of musicians now performs under the name the Junior Mulemena Boys.