Remmy Ongala & Super Matimila (1947-2010)

Remmy Ongala, born a Zairean, was a very famous man in Tanzania. He is one of many Zairean musicians who tried during the 1970s to earn a living in music outside Zaire. Many of them left for Tanzania or Kenya. Back home in Zaire, too many musicians were struggling to find work in one of the known bands nor for night clubs orchestras, which were owned by successful businessmen or musicians.

Remmy, later nicknamed the Doctor or Dr. Remmy, started in music when the death of his mother left him the role of supporting his family. In 1978, he started playing in Dar-es-Salaam with Orchestre Makassy, and in 1981, he joined Orchestre Super Matimila, a band "owned" by a local businessman.
The rest, of course, is history. Matimila's music is laid back and swinging at the same time, a mix of Swahili flavour and rumba and soukous rhythms... Remmy sings of poverty and about people that lost their social ties, their dreams. He owes his popularity to the fact that he is still defending the weak in his songs.

In 1989, Remmy recorded for the first time in a Western studio, the famous Real World studio. The 1989 album « Songs for the Poor Man » was the result of this recording. Various albums followed, and Remmy Ongala toured regularly and often performed on festivals al over the world.

Musicians on Songs for the Poor Man:
Remmy Ongala: Lead vocals, guitar
Keito Kiniki: Vocal
Freddy Sengula Mwlasha: Guitar
Muhidini Kisukari Haji: Guitar
Hasani Ayas Ayas: Guitar
Matu Dikundia Hassan: Saxophone
Lawrence Chuki Limbanga: Drums
Saidi Salum Jumaine: Congas
Matimila: Percussion

Remmy Ongala
  Remmy Ongala 

Born: 10 February 1947, in Kindu, D.R. Congo (at the time Belgian Congo)
Birth Name: Ramazani Mtoro Ongala-Mungamba
Died: 13 December 2010, in Dar es Salam, Tanzania
Style: Ubongo Beat (Tanzanian rumba)

Title Year Label Remarks
Sema 1995 WOMAD Select WSCD002
The Kershaw Sessions 1994 Strange Roots ROOTCD004
Mambo 1992 Real World RWCD 22
Songs for the Poor Man 1989 Real World RWCD 6
Nalilia Mwana 1988 Womad WOMAD 010
On Stage with Remmy Ongala 1988 Ahadi AHDLP 6007
Penzi Ni Jahazi 1983 Polydor POLP 538 Remmy Ongala & Orchestre Super Talakaka

Page added August 2000