Renowned rumba maestro Laurent Nyboma is set to perform in Nairobi and Mombasa writes CAROLINE NYANGA
When the Kenya Airways plane from Paris, France lands at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport next Wednesday morning, it will bring one of the most celebrated African musicians, Laurent Nyboma Mwandindo.
His greatest show in Kenya was at Nairobi’s KICC alongside Sam Fan Thomas in 1986 and has since visited four times. He returned to Club Afrique in 2009 alongside Roi Babel formerly Madilu Magic System lead singer and composer.
Speaking on phone from Paris, Nyboma confirmed he would perform in Mamba Village, Mombasa, on Christmas Eve and at Ranalo’s (Kosewe) in Nairobi in concerts organised by Jules Nsana Promotions.
He will be staying for a few days before returning to Paris. Best known for songs such as Double Double, Nina, Likambo, Moyibi, done with Pepe Kalle, Abbisina, Sodolo, Sangoni, Lidy, Papy, Okino and Ina among others says his fans should be ready for a taste of his latest dance moves.
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"I want my fans to know that I have suprises for them. "Ours is a slower version making it easier for fans to sit back and enjoy," he says adding: "I want Kenyans to ‘eat’ my music which I believe is rumba with a difference besides getting acquainted with some of my latest dancing styles."
The excited Nyboma could not hide his love for Kenya, which he refers to as one of his favourite destinations.
"I can’t wait to see the beautiful sights and sounds of Kenya. It is the one thing I can’t always seem to get enough of."
The Congolese musician will be accompanied by celebrated Congolese artistes including London-based Desi Mbwse, a musician-cum-businessman, renowned guitarist Syran Mbenza (referred to as the devil of the guitar due to his ability) and drummist Komba Bellow both from Kekele group in Congo.
Kekele comprise Congolese veterans who have managed to recreate the sound of Congolese rumba of the 60s, 70s and 80s with modern studio technology.
Desi Mbwse is a musician with three albums under his cap. They include Ererbus and Papa D’amour — the latter is very popular among fans abroad. He will unveil his latest album when he performs in Kenya.
"I want Kenyans to be the first to get a taste of my new music. This is the best treat I can ever give to them considering it is my first show here," he said.
Undoubtedly considered one of the smoothest tenors among Congolese musicians, Nyboma says his mission is to bring back the original rumba rhythm he refers to as Rumba Odemba.
"This is the kind of music the late Franco Luambo Luanzo Makiadi specialised in," says Nyboma who, apart from vocals, is a composer and also plays the guitar and keyboard.
The veteran, who started off as a member of Negro Success in 1969, says he supports efforts by the younger generation of Congolese musicians to be innovative but believes some lack creativity. "It may be stage fright or lack of creativity," he explains.
But despite his immense success, some critics feel that Nyboma has not done well like when he collaborated with the late Pepe Kalle while others say he was riding on the giant musician’s fame.
"Well, everyone is entitled to their opinion. Truth is, I never rode on anyone’s back. I composed five albums with Madilu System after Pepe Kalle’s death. They include Voisin, Jian, and Povour among others. I am currently on the verge of completing and launching my latest album with Mbilia Bel, which is unique and different from what other Congolese artistes have done in the past. An ardent supporter of France football club Marseille and England’s Manchester United, he says he has compiled an album comprising a remix of his old songs.
He considers Franco, Johny Bokelo, Papa Wemba, Tabu Ley, Nyoka Longo, Madilu, Pepe Kalle, Dr Nico, Samangwana, Koffi Olomide, Bopol Mansiamina, Syran Mbenza and Wuta Mayi as some of the best musicians.
He however, points out that Pepe Kalle and Madilu as easy to work with.
The fact that I easily adapt to one’s style of music including the credible voice made most of them interested in working with me. Nyboma who has many tours every year admits that music is time consuming making it difficult for him to spend enough time with his family in Paris and New Jersey, US. Nevertheless, he is glad that music has been rewarding enabling him to invest in a studio in Paris and buy houses besides taking care of his family of nine and two wives.