Sunday, April 15, 2018

Wanyika Memories



The Tanzanian-turned-Kenyan orchestra Simba Wanyika gave rise to a multitude of offshoots, and offshoots of offshots, over its 25-year history - Orchestra Jobiso, Super Wanyika Stars, MAS System, the Mavalo Stars and so forth. It's all documented in a discography I compiled, along with Doug Paterson and Peter Toll, some years back.

None of these, though, have had the impact of the biggest splinter group of them all, Orchestra Les Wanyika, founded in 1978 by Simba Wanyika rhythm guitarist Omar Shabani and several other members, who were joined by John Ngereza and Issa Juma. A couple of smash hits ("Paulina" and "Sina Makossa") later and Issa Juma too had flown the coop to form his own band, variosly called Waanyika, Super Wanyika and Wanyika Stars.

Never mind. That was just a speed bump for Les Wanyika, who notched a plethora of hits over the next decade, including "Dunia Ki-Geu Geu," "Mbaya Wako Rafiki Yako" and "Naogopa," culminating with today's offering, the 1988 LP Nilipi la Ajabu (Polydor POLP 582), featuring one of their most popular tunes, "Afro."

Nilipi la Ajabu was followed shortly by Nimaru (Polydor POLP 598, 1989), which I will also be posting here soon, and several other albums including Amigo (Clifford Lugard Productions CLP 001, 1997) a collection of re-recorded versions of their hits that is Les Wanyika's only record to get widespread distribution outside of Africa.

Sadly, Omar Shabani died in 1997, and his longtime colleague John Ngereza passed in 2002, but their legacy is eteral through recordings like Nilipi la Ajabu. Enjoy!





Download Nilipi la Ajabu as a zipped file here.


3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for yer work

LeFranck said...

This is really fantastic John. Swahili music from East Africa is not so well known as Lingala music from Zaire/Congo. I wish we could hear more if it. The bonds between Zaire/Congo and Kenya/Tanzania was really strong back in the 70's and Les Wanyika among other groups are a proof of that.

I hope for more surprises from you in the near future.

LeFrank

edzayi mashinga said...

Thanks for the good Les Wanyika,can anyone help me with the lyrics of Mambo by Les wanyika