Orchestre Baba National

www.muzikifan.com writes: Baba Gaston was born on July 5, 1936 at Likasi, near Lubumbashi in Shaba Province, Eastern DR Congo. He changed his name from Ilunga Omer to Ilunga Chenji Kamanda wa Kamanda Gaston Omer after Mobutu decreed that Zaire nationals replace their Christian names with African ones. When he was 20 he formed the Baba National Orchestre, which he took on an extended tour through Zambia, Zimbabwe and several European countries before becoming one of the first Congolese musicians to settle in East Africa in the early 70s. Evani Kabila Kabanze, who was later to star with Les Mangelepa, sang with Orchestra Baba Nationale in Lubumbashi. The band used to travel to Kinshasa to record. According to Kabanze, sometime in 1971, because of the poor roads in the Congo, they took the Kisangani route through Kilemi which lies on the Congolese border with Tanzania. But, instead of proceeding to Kinshasa, they decided to enter East Africa, having heard of the region's superb studios. The band settled in Dar-es-Salaam for four years. They found it cheaper there and built a strong fan base. For recording they would cross the border and travel to Nairobi. But, four years later, in 1975, Baba Gaston decided to move the band to Nairobi when they realised they had an even bigger following there. Congolese musicians have been making waves in Kenya since the late 1950s. It was the Congolese OS Africa Band that opened Nairobi's famous Starlight Club back in 1964. But it wasn't until the mid-1970s, after the passing of the American soul craze, that music from Zaire began to dominate the city nightclubs. As a composer and band leader, Baba Gaston was prominent in the music scene in Kenya for three decades, and is considered one of the godfathers of Kenyan pop. He sang mostly in Swahili. His tunes were hugely popular and remain evergreen. "Kakolele Viva Christmas" (lead vocals by Kasongo Wakanema who later joined Super Mazembe) earned him a golden award, selling over 60,000 for Polygram. Other memorable hits were "Ilunga Ilunga," "Kai Kai," and "Mayasa."

Orchestre Baba National (Bwambe-Bwambe)
Kakolele Viva  Christmas Pt.1 (Baba Ilunga Wa Ilunga) / Kakolele Viva  Christmas Pt.2 (Baba Ilunga Wa Ilunga)
7" ASL ASL 7-2164 (P) 1976 Lingala (Made in East Africa) (download)

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