Ohangla and rumba musicians set to clash at city night spot

Saturday February 9 2019

Nyboma Mwandibo (in suit) and Rhumba Japan band entertain revellers at Carnivore restaurant in Nairobi on August 31, 2013. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Nyboma Mwandibo (in suit) and Rhumba Japan band entertain revellers at Carnivore restaurant in Nairobi on August 31, 2013. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Today all roads lead to Westlands, Nairobi as ohangla and rumba lovers flock to Galileo’s Lounge for an all-night episode of Prince Indah and Rumba Japan music with DJ Marto Sibuor on the decks assisted by DJ Ten and ODI aka Dee

This will be the first time that ohangla, a growing popular genre, will be featuring in Westlands, and for the first time for Rumba Japan at Galileos.

The Weche Hera sensation will give Saturday fans a real deal of Luo rhythms.

"We are going to give ohangla fans a night of their lifetime including our new numbers and the ones they have grown to love," said Prince Indah aka Janabi, the soft-spoken agile singer who has grown in stature and has taken a rightful place among the favourite and much sought after ohangla artistes.

He and his Malaika band will give fans the delight that has made this genre popular after pioneer singers Tony and Jack Nyadundo.

A mix of Rumba Japan on this night is the ultimate entertainment that has seen the Congolese group become the much-sought after group since they performed in the Tusker Project Fame at Simmers Club in Nairobi.

"We at Galileo Lounge are in the true tradition of supporting and promoting local talent and that's why Ohangla is coming here for the very first time," said the Galileo Lounge proprietor Richard Ngatia, who has seen mugithi, soul and one-guitar artistes perform in his high end entertainment joint.


An incursion for ohangla is a major move towards the growth of the genre in its modern form.

Popularised from around 1992 by the two brothers Tony and Jack Nyadundo, the genre has evolved from a village ritual jig to an urban mass entertainment, especially in Eastlands and the Nairobi West areas.

Whilst it is common to find ohangla performers in Egesa, Kataro and Vibro clubs in the city, it is almost unheard of in the upper middle class areas of Westlands.

Prince Indah is known for his other hits including NyaKisumo, Ka Inyuolo Nyathi Ichak Wuonwa, Opija Father, Singo, Maria, Cinderela Mama, Nya Miriambo, Ng’ato Gi Pokne, Zainabu Wangu, Sigand Luo, Tenda Wema and Freddy Mopao, among others.

He has won a huge following for his storytelling approach to music that resonates with individuals’ life experiences.

He is a chronicler of the timeline of the lives of people in their day-to-day endeavours, struggles, celebrations, love and grief in equal measure.

This is in addition to his rhythmic and slow paced rhumba style that makes his music danceable and discernible at the same time.

And this is a good trend, especially for Galileo Lounge that has seen the promotion of the Gikuyu one-man-guitar delight with the king of mugithi Mike Rua headlining the New Year vigil at the facility this year.


In the new book Shades of Benga, veteran rumba producer Tabu Osusa of Ketebul Studios describes ohangla as a rural hip-hop and an innovation of young creative musicians who could not afford the costs of a fully-fledged band.

Some of the notable ohangla successful stars include Onyi Papa Jey and Emma Jalamo.

And to make the night complete, Rumba Japan, the foremost Congolese Lingala troupe in town, will be on stage as well.

They render some of the best Lingala classics from such notable artistes as Papa Wemba, Franco, Kabaselleh Yampanya, Koffi Olomide, Feregola and Awilo Longomba.

Their ability to not only stay true to the original melody but give the music a fresh taste with a little dose of Kiswahili has endeared Rumba Japan to city fans in a big way, not to mention their flamboyant fashion and pomposity.

Much sought after rumba DJ Marto Sibuor will also be in the house.

“I have always wanted to come to Galileo to give fans out there some real rumba dose. I can’t wait for the evening to spin the decks together with my friends,” says DJ Sibuor.