Nairobi has always been good hunting ground for Congolese musicians and their bands, thanks to Kenyans’ immense liking for Lingala music.
Perhaps the most famous are Les Mangelepa, Super Mazembe, Les Kinois, and Virunga — the latter two associated with mercurial band leader Samba Mapangala.
But the latest kids of the block are the brand new Nairobi-based group, SP Band.
And like their older compatriots, who blazed the trail from Congo DRC, having crossed first into Uganda before journeying straight to Nairobi, this relatively young band is promising all the fireworks.
They may not be well-known to many music lovers in Nairobi, but SP Band have been quietly gaining ascendancy, and their ultimate rise to the top, they hope, will be helped by a big event that is now in the works.
With several decades of fine music and big songs by their compatriots, who have made Kenya their home away from home, SP Band has not only the inspiration, but also the huge expectations of fans to lay on the very best.
The band now plans to stamp its musical identity on the minds of the fans of Congolese Lingala music with the launch of their debut album, “Confirmation”, on July 7 in Nairobi.
Speaking to Saturday Nation recently, band leader Robert Lomami “Robera” was elated.
He said the new seven-track album was something their fans had been looking forward to.
Among the impressive tracks on the new album is “Walk with me”, which is a welcome pitch for the anti-jiggers campaign in central Kenya.
Other songs include “Deception”, “Maisha” and “Mpenzi”. The music on the new album ranges in beats from rumba to Salsa and Zouk.
Band manager Ayub Sibelle said the group had laid down launch party next week.
Appealing to people
“We have been taking our time to produce tracks that will be appealing to people of all walks of life,” he said.
Robera, formerly with Eden Musica and Vundumuna bands, has teamed up with, among others, guitarists Bionic Yuma and Anelka Kabamba, and versatile drummer Persie, in this new and exciting musical sound.
But the Congolese, as has always been the trend over the years, have never hesitated to involve talented Kenyans in their fairly successful bands.
Many will recall Mapangala’s long collaboration with Okello Jose in Les Kinois, which yielded solid music with a distinct Kenyan flavour.
For its part, SP Band has Kenyan singers Jackie Oyoyo and Bills.
During live concerts, the band’s stage show is superbly bolstered and spiced up by the inclusion of moves of the lithe young dancers Laticia and Ornela.
Interestingly, the group is based at the Deep West Resort Club, just a stone’s throw away from Citizen Vibro, where Les Mangelepa has held court for many years.
Deep West will also be the venue of their album launch.
The event will also feature guest artistes, including Benga sensation Dola Kabarry and Jua Kali of Webuye Jazz Band.
There will also a special appearance by budding gospel singer Jane Wawira Ndemi, who will also launch her six-track album during the same show.