To many Rhumba lovers, no one could ever fully fit in the shoes left by the late Musa Juma and his brother Omondi Tony. But clearly the music bug that propelled Musa and Omondi Tony to rumba stardom has not spared their sister Milly Fedha Mumbo.
When the original Limpopo International disintegrated and musicians scattered forming their own splinter groups, Musa Juma’s sister Milly Fedha invited guitarist Prof Azile to form her own Super Limpopo. And through it she has kept the fire of her brothers burning in the musical scene.
While the splinter groups survive on singing Musa Juma’s songs at different clubs, Milly has managed to carve out her own musical space. In the five years that she has been singing, she has released three albums, Yatima, a six-track album released in 2013 and another five-track album known as Siaya County released in 2014. Her latest Jaherana was recently launched at Nairobi’s Egesa East Villa.
Done in a mix of rhumba and chakacha with a tinge of benga styles, and sang in Dholuo and Swahili, the album has several songs including Yatima, Baba Natasha, Paul kapuonja, Nyathi gi Akinyi, Rapar Musa, Rapar Omondi Tony and Mama Nyaukwala.
“I felt there was no better way than to hold special events in the memory of my late brothers Musa and Omondi Tony and also come up with something of my own,” she told Metropolitan.
The event that took place two weeks ago witnessed a huge turnout of rhumba lovers. And it was worth every moment, for Milly sang her songs alongside the evergreen songs from Limpopo International.
Despite her fame and success, Milly, who performs at Nairobi’s Club Paradiso situated along Jogoo Road every Saturday and Sunday, admits it has not been an easy ride.
“Despite the challenges I go through given the fact that I am a leader in a band of men some of whom are as old as my father, I have managed to cope well, ensuring everything works for the best,” says Milly, adding that her husband has been very supportive of her music career.
She adds that despite the departure of some musicians who were affiliated to Musa Juma, she has managed to recruit new members who have been able to fit in their shoes extremely well.
Today, original members of Super Limpopo are vocalists Jose Muzungu, Azil and renowned drummist Vacsa.
Limpopo, one of the strongest bands since the days of Ochieng Kabaselle, played music that easily transcended language and cultural boundaries.
To date, the songs still enjoy immense popularity and airplay, much to the envy of fellow established musicians.
It is this legacy that Milly seeks to cement through her educative, entertaining and music that is easy to dance to. She has been traversing the country and receiving good reception among rhumba lovers.
“It is a rare privilege for Super Limpopo International to perform in various parts of the country to people of different ethnic backgrounds. This is a sign that we are headed in the right direction,” she says.
“I am glad that fans from all walks of life are able to enjoy our music, besides getting the chance to sample some of our latest tunes and dancing styles,” she says.
But like many successful bands out there, Super Limpopo is not strange to controversy.
Critics are of the opinion that the band has been low musically, having failed to release hit songs like Mercelina, Hera Mudho and Freddy, which catapulted the original Limpopo to fame both locally and internationally over many years.
Others even suggest the band is ‘no more’. It is alleged that ‘differences’ between the key players resulted in a few members quitting upon Musa Juma’s death.
While admitting differences between some of the band members led to a few members quitting, Milly, however, maintains Limpopo is stronger and better after taking over as its manager.
The musician, who is determined to succeed where his predecessors have failed, explains there are still more surprises in store for his fans.
“I have big plans, but my priority is to continue producing good music that people will love and appreciate for years to come.”