East African Music - African Radio

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In 2003, I was just putting the finishing touches on the Golden Sounds Band release, Swahili Rumba. At around that same time in Nairobi, one of the Golden Sounds singers, Raul Umba, put out a CD of his own with his new group, Bouger Musica. I happened to be in Kenya for a visit and picked up a copy of Raul's "Carte Rouge" CD from Melodica Music Store. When I got back to the USA, I gave it a listen and was pleasantly surprised by the music. It was contemporary Congolese rumba but it also had some distinct East African elements blended in as well. The actual CD-R that I bought was a technical disaster. What had been a top notch recording was reduced to a muddy mess with digital distortion throughout. As a radio producer and audio technician in my day job, it was second nature that I would feel compelled to fix this mess just for my own amusement and to make it acceptable for my weekly African music radio program.

I worked hours and hours on it EQing it, restoring the clipped audio (little clicks that occur when digital audio goes beyond the maximum possible), and adding reverb and other effects. Finally, I got it to where I thought it sounded pretty good. I played it on the radio a few times and gave it a home on a shelf of my CD collection. More than a year later, I was contacted by the artist, Raul Umba, who wanted to know if I could help him market the CD. He didn't know anything about my own prior experience with it. I sent it around to a few labels and didn't get any takers so we made a plan to release it ourselves through CDBaby.com. It's available there as a CD-R release or the individual tracks are also available for download on CDBaby and some of the major digital download services like Amazon and iTunes.

It hasn't yet taken off as a big hit but I still think it's pretty good Congolese rumba dance music. You can see for yourself whether you'd like it from CDBaby.

Here is the blurb I wrote describing the band and the music:

Contemporary Congolese rumba/soukous music with a Kenyan flavour: Maisha

Raul "Tindika" Umba and Bouger Musica: MaishaSinger, composer, and bandleader Raul Umba, came to Kenya in 1994. Raul, better known by his performance nickname, Tindika, was born in Congo in the town of Kanaga and grew up in Congo's capital city, Kinshasa. Although he completed a full secondary education through Form Six, he took music seriously from a very young age, attending school in the mornings and practicing his music in the evenings.

Since he started singing professionally in Congo, his journey to Nairobi Kenya has included stops in Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Tanzania where he performed with a number of prominent bands. Working with musicians from Congo, Tanzania, and Kenya, Tindika plays contemporary rumba music with a distinct East African flavor. Prior to forming his current group, Bouger Musica, Tindika sang with Bora Bora and Golden Sounds Band in Kenya and he worked with the brilliant Congolese guitarist, the late Ndala Kasheba, in Tanzania with Zaita Musica.

His CD, Maisha, meaning "Life" in Swahili, brings together some veteran musicians of the East African scene including vocalists Kasongo of Super Mazembe, Tedy who performed with Defao, Alpha from Maquis Original, Barly from Lipua Lupua, and Manus from Vundumuna.

Vocal: Raul (Tindika) Umba Tedys Suka Kasongo wa Kanema Manus Baba Guitar (solo and rhythm): Alpha Nyuki ya Saint Bass guitar: Barly (Karim) Keyboard: Maranatha and Henry Drums: Ley and Toto Conga: Alan Animation: File Nyanfu

East African Music - African Radio

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To contact Douglas Paterson, send email to DPaterson@EastAfricanMusic.com.

Last updated 07 January, 2009.

Copyright 1996-2009 Douglas B. Paterson, All Rights Reserved.