Samba Mapangala & Orchestre Virunga
(Kenya/D.R. Congo)

The band Samba Mapangala is one of the many artists who had left Zaire to search for new audiences in East Africa, mainly Kenya and Tanzania. This Zairian exodus started in the 1960s, reached its top during the 1970s and ended in the early 1980s. These musicians left because of difficult political and economic conditions in Congo, because of the stiff competition between the numerous orchestras as well as the dominant position of Franco and Tabu Ley Rochereau in the 1970s and 1980s. East Africa offered new audiences, record companies and studio facilities.

Samba Mapangala left first for Kampala, Uganda, in 1975, where he created his orchestra Les Kinois. They arrived in Kenya in 1977, and they were soon loved for their music characterised by light guitar playing on a strong basis of drums and bass. In 1980, Les Kinois broke up, and Samba formed a new band Orchestre Virunga, named after the Congolese Virunga mountains. In the early 1980s, the first Virunga album « Malako Disco » was a huge hit and resulted in a first European release. This was followed in the 1990s by a few European releases made with Paris based musicians such as Diblo Dibala, Pablo Lubadika and others, playing a somewhat different style, closer to that of Les Quatre Etoiles. The original East African style can be enjoyed on a compilation album « Virunga Roots volume 1 » with a collection of older successes of Virunga.

Nowadays based in the United States, Samba continues to perform and release albums. He also participates in the Occidental Brothers Dance Band International, an American/Panafrican band.

Samba Mapangala
      Samba Mapangala   
• Musicians on 'Song & Dance':
Vocals: Samba Mapangala, Dodo Munoko, Nyboma Mwan'dido, Komba Bellow Mafwala
Solo guitar: Caien Madoka, Syran M'Benza on track 3, Dally Kimoko on tracks 5 and 6
Rhythm guitar: Bopol Mansiamina
Drums: Komba Bellow Mafwala
Bass guitar: Fiston
Animation: Komba, Jirbo Ntuta, Aaron Rosenberg
Conga: Deba Sungu
Sax: Jimmy Mvondo

Born: in Matadi, Congo-Kinshasa
Style: Kenyan-Congolese rumba / Lingala music

Title Year Label Remarks
Virunga Roots volume 2: Rare Track from the '80s and '90s 2018 Virunga Records VR004
Maisha Ni Matamu 2011 Virunga Records (Distribution CD Baby)
African Classics 2008 Sheer Sound SLCD149 Compilation
Song & Dance 2006 Virunga Records
Virunga Roots volume 1: Vunja Mifupa 2004 Samba Mapangala
Ujumbe 2001 Stern's / Earthworks STEW043CD
Karibu Kenya 1996 Sun Records 012056
Feet on Fire 1991 Stern's STCD 1036
Virunga Volcano 1990 Earthworks CDEWV 16 Reissue of Malako, plus 2 additional songs
Malako Disco 1984 Earthworks ERT 2006 Released previously as AR 0986 (1982)

Page added April 2001