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For this project, I worked with live recordings from Samba Mapangala's 2007 USA Tour. These provide an exciting contrast to the finely honed studio recordings. The familar songs are here but with the excitement of live performance, innovation, and improvisation. In the live setting, the same song is never played the same way twice and, in fact, some of the song versions turned out to be quite different. My role was to put together what I thought might be the best versions of each song trying to capture the live feel for the listener who has never had the chance to hear Samba and Virunga in performance. For several songs with extended dance versions, this also meant that I had to cut 12 or 14 minute versions down to 7 or 8 minutes.

Currently, this album is available as an mp3 download and I have reproduced the notes that go with it below:

Samba Mapangala and Virunga: Live On Tour (2009)

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.

Live tracks:

1. 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)

2. Siri (Secret): The private business of husbands and wifes should be secret.
(From the Ujumbe album)

3. Malako (Last Wish): Samba's masterpiece signature song, originally released in 1982 in Kenya.
(On the Virunga Volcano album)

4. Marina: A love song (Original available on Virunga Roots Vol. 1)

5. Adija: Advice to a young girl (From the Song and Dance album)

Download the cover art and liner notes in PDF (Adobe reader) suitable for printing out as compact disc insert.

Bonus tracks:

6. Obama Ubarikiwe (vocal)
7. Obama Ubarikiwe (rap remix)

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. All proceeds go directly to the artist to keep more great music coming.

Thanks for supporting independent music!

Notes to accompany the album down load from CDBaby.com.

East African Music - African Radio

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

Last updated 11 January, 2009.

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