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Padi Makani goes solo

By | Published Sat, June 5th 2010 at 00:00, Updated Sat, June 5th 2010 at 00:00 GMT +3

By Ernest Ndunda

After years of singing alongside acclaimed musicians such as Kanda Bongo Man and Samba Mapangala, Mombasa-based Congolese musician Padi Makani has released his own album.

The rumba album, Fuata Mwendo wa Kobe, features tracks mainly in Kiswahili, which enjoy massive airplay in most FM radio stations.

Padi Makani takes to the stage.

The new album was launched yesterday at Club Tropicana in Mtwapa. It features tracks like DJ Ninja, Mwakamba and Obama Malo Malo, which is dedicated to US President Barack Obama.
"We are planning shows not only at the Coast but also in other towns upcountry," says Makani, the Orchestra Banoko bandleader.

In his new band, he teams up with former Orchestra Super Mazembe solo guitarist Loboko Pasi. The group currently performs at Coast clubs such as Miami in Bombululu, Bottoms Club (Shanzu), Utange Village, Check Point (Kongowea) and Zaituni in Mtopanga.Makani joined his first band, Makosa, in the 1970s. In the same period he sang alongside accomplished musician Kanda Bongo Man. In 1976, he joined Lolaka Band, which he also left after a short stint. Makani later joined the well-paying Congo’s Central Bank Band -Lakasa ya Musolo.

European Tour

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"Here, we used to sing praise songs to the then President Mobutu Sese Seko," he says. "Since I was ambitious, I left the band to join Johnny Bokelo’s Conga International," says Makani. When he arrived in Kenya in January 1988, he was convinced by Samba Mapangala to join him in Nairobi. He agreed and abandoned his planned European trip. While in Nairobi, Makani says he left Virunga, Samba Mapangala’s band, and joined Zaiken and later Super Mazembe. Two years later, he left for greener pastures in Japan where he abandoned music to became a chef.

"I learnt a lot in Japan since we used to use hand signs to communicate as most of my colleagues at the hotel could not speak English or France," he says.

"After three years, I realised that cooking was not my calling. Luckily I met Yondo Sisters and Nguma Lokito who convinced me to go back to the music industry."

Prior to moving to Mombasa, Makani teamed up with Poxi Presha for Sasa ni Lunchtime remix.

Makani was born on November 23,1956 in Kinshasa. He started singing while in primary school, where he led school choirs to competitions.

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