In the summer of 2007, Samba Mapangala went on tour in Canada and the U.S. for the first time in 10 years, performing in Toronto, Montreal, Milwaukee, Madison WI, Oakland CA, Roseburg OR, Portland, Santa Monica, Carlsbad and San Juan Capistrano CA, before heading for the WOMAD festival in England. Virunga's show at Yoshi's nightclub in Oakland, a jazz-club room with great acoustics and a devoted audience for African music, was one of the tour highlights, and fortunately was captured directly from the sound board for our continued enjoyment and appreciation.
The red-hot touring band on stage that night was composed of an all-star cast of Congolese musicians plus the great Cameroonian saxophonist Jimmy Mvondo:
Samba, lead vocal
Rissa Rissa, harmony vocal and animation
Huit Kilos, lead guitar
Bopol Mansiamina, rhythm guitar
Miguel Yamba, bass
Komba Bellow, drums
Jimmy Mvondo, sax
Javier Navarrette, congas
Here presented is a selection of music from the two sets that night, with everyone on top of their game. This recording offers an exclusive glimpse of an unforgettable evening with East Africa's most beloved singer, Samba Mapangala, impeccably edited and mastered by sound technician Douglas Paterson and now available for digital download.
Sungura (Hare): The story of the hare and the tortoise: Slow and steady wins the race (Original studio recording is available from CD Baby on the Feet on Fire album)
Siri (Secret): (From the Ujumbe album)
Malako (Last Wish): Samba's masterpiece signature song, originally released in 1982 in Kenya. (On the Virunga Volcano album)
Marina: A love song (Original available on Virunga Roots Vol. 1)
Adija: Advice to a young girl (From the Song and Dance album)
See links to download the PDF of cover art and liner notes suitable for printing out as compact disc insert.
Bonus tracks: "Obama Ubarikiwe" vocal and rap remixes
In September 2008, while in Chicago to perform at the annual World Music Festival and with the presidential election campaign in full swing, Samba, in recognition of how much Africans love Barack Obama and how proud Kenyans are of Obama's candidacy, recorded a song in his honor: "Obama Ubarikiwe."
The song, released only online as a free download, immediately tore around the world on the Internet and within days was being played continuously in Kenya. The original version with a rap by 14-year-old Fanaka Ndege was followed shortly by a vocal remix featuring harmonies by Jonal Buya Lutete, formerly with OK Jazz, and a video, produced and directed by Jose Shalita and Robin Berry, released on YouTube.
Recorded at Chicago's Riverside Studio and produced by Nathaniel Braddock of the Occidental Brothers and Old Town School of Folk Music, the title translates as "Obama Be Blessed." The Swahili lyrics say: Obama, leadership is a gift from God, and you have it. Please help to bring peace, change and hope to all Americans and all the world. We love you!
Musicians on the session were members of Virunga and the Occidental Brothers:
Siama Matuzungidi, Nathaniel Braddock, Jose Shalita, guitars
Rap written and performed by Fanaka Ndege
Voices: Samba Mapangala, Cheryl Kramer, Jose Shalita, D Boudreaux, Jonal Buya Lutete
Saxophone: Greg Ward
Trumpet: Marques Carrol
Bass: Ali Msafiri Mgawe
Drums: Paul Stueber
Percussion: D Boudreaux
Producer: Nathaniel Braddock
Engineer: Eric Butkus
Recorded at Riverside Studio, Chicago
Remixed and mastered by Douglas Paterson
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