This week Thursday Nite Live features the rhumba of the legendary Orchestre Les Mangelepa.
Comprising Congolese musicians who settled in Kenya, Les Mangelepa helped drive the East African evolutionary spur of one of the greatest musical artforms, African rumba, during the 1970s.
Developing a regular residency in Nairobis Uhuru Park at the Park Inn, Mangelepa began to draw huge crowds. Their early recordings helped them to establish their authority, released on contemporary labels like Jojo and Tobina. Alongside a spectacular horn section they were known for their tight vocals and bittersweet, poetic lyrics and, during the late 70s,
Mangelepas stage shows were an unsurpassed breath-taking circus. They held a wide appeal across a spectrum of Kenyans; Congolese (Lingala) music was hugely popular and Mangelepas Swahili lyrics used the genre and brought Kenyans together across ethnic divisions. The popular music of Kenya at that time included Benga from the shores of Lake Victoria and Chakacha from the coast; Les Mangelepa became skilful and adept songwriters, harnessing the energy from these other music styles.
The bands fame spread across East Africa, scoring household hits in Kenya with songs like Maindusa and Embakasi. In the late 70s, under George Opiyos management, they embarked on lengthy tours of Uganda and Malawi and returned to their long-running Nairobi residency at Garden Square. In 1982 they headed to Zimbabwe via Tanzania and Zambia and, after breaking into two factions, made several acclaimed albums including Safari Ya Mangelepa and Madina for PolyGram.
In 2016, Les Mangelepa finally made it out of Africa, touring Europe including the Afrika Festival in Hertme, Netherlands. This new album, recorded by No Nations Guy Morley in coproduction with Ketebul Music, capsulates some of their best-loved material, re-recorded and brought up to date using the current personnel of their Nairobi Vibro residency. They represent a wonderful era of African music and justifiably warrant the title Last Band Standing.
Catch a glimpes of Orchestre Les Mangelepa in the following links
- J’s Fresh Kitchen accepts reservations so please make a reservation for a table should you know you will be coming for dinner.
- The number for reservations is 0707612585.
- J’s Westlands is a 23 years and older venue.
- The show starts promptly at 8pm so tables are held till 8pm after which they are opened to other customers.
We want to welcome Heinenken as a partner for Thursday Nite Live at J’s. Make sure to sample their Draft Heineken a tasty brew indeed.