All set for musician Juma Toto's final journey

Sunday September 22 2019

Veteran musician Laban Juma Toto as pictured in Nairobi on March 25, 2019. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Veteran musician Laban Juma Toto, who died in Nairobi a fortnight ago, will be buried next Saturday at his rural home in Gem, Siaya County.

Toto, former leader of Toddy International Band, died at Kenyatta National Hospital from an internal head injury he suffered from a fall at his Jerusalem Estate house in Nairobi.

He is best remembered for his entertainment prowess from the 1960s.

Speaking to the Nation on Wednesday, benga music producer George Ouma of Jojo Records said his family members were making arrangements to have his body moved from Montezuma Funeral Home in Nairobi on September 26.

Thereafter, there will be a church service at St Stephen’s ACK church on Jogoo Road in Nairobi.



Various artistes, including veteran David Amunga and John Katana, the band leader of Them Mushrooms, have been involved in making the funeral arrangements.

Until his death on September 10, the soft-spoken 70-year-old was the chairman of the Kenya Musicians Union (Kemu).

“The family will hold a fundraiser next Tuesday at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi from 5pm,” Mr Ouma said.

As a mark of respect for his fans in Eastlands, where Toto spent most of his musical career since moving to Nairobi in the late 1960s, his body will be taken for an overnight stay at his Jerusalem Estate house next Thursday.

The cortege will leave on Friday morning for the burial on Saturday at Lihanda, Gem, Siaya County.


Toto leaves behind a widow, Jacinta Juma, and two children, Calvin Ochieng and Rosemary Juma. Rosemary was named after Toto’s first wife, Rose, whom he eulogised in one of his all-time best songs “Rose Jaber”.

The song was a follow-up to his debut song that would become a chartbuster “FC Gor Mahia”, composed in praise of the Gor Mahia Football Club in 1970.

Toto earlier released "Dori Mama" and "Athieno Nyar Seme", which were recorded and produced by seasoned engineer and producer Isaya Mwinano at the Philips Studio.

Toto will remembered for his shows at some of the leading hotels in Nairobi, including the Stanley, Panafaric and, most recently, at Panari Hotel on Mombasa Road, where he was the resident pianist.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, he excelled in concerts and recorded with the legendary Hodi Boys Band, which was under the leadership of veteran saxophonist Geoffrey Ngao.

It was through the Hodi Boys that the Fadhili William and Slim Ali recorded several afro/funk tracks.

Toto also mentored Australia-based guitarist Okello Jose, who played with Samba Mapangala’s Orch Les Kinois, Super Mazembe, Ivory Band and other top bands.


Meanwhile, Crispin Tambwe, leader of the Mombasa-based Amitie Musica band, is bereaved; he lost his wife following a short illness earlier this week.

Speaking to the Nation, Crispin said she complained of a fever and a headache last Tuesday and died at a Mombasa hospital.

Fans, counterparts and well-wishers have condoled with the versatile musician and producer.