What you need to know:
- According to his son and musician Evala Mbuta, the fallen dancing styles legend had been an outpatient in Nairobi after having been flown from Kinshasa, DR Congo.
- In Nairobi, Radja made his debut with shows at the then popular Makuti Park Club in Nairobi South B back in 1997.
- Veteran promoter and Makuti Club proprietor Machua Waithaka eulogised Radja as a top stage show innovator who encouraged many other up and coming dancers.
The rhumba music scene is this week mourning the death of top Congolese dancing styles innovator Radja Kula Mbuta who died on Tuesday at a Nairobi hospital.
According to his son and musician Evala Mbuta, the fallen dancing styles legend had been an outpatient in Nairobi after having been flown from Kinshasa, DR Congo.
Speaking to Daily Nation on Thursday, Evala said they were making arrangements in collaboration with Cotu boss Francis Atwoli for his funeral arrangements.
“We are hoping to have his body flown back to Kinshasa for burial on Wednesday next week,” Evala said.
Radja (Roger Mbuta Kula), who led the Station Japan band which back in the 1990s was renowned for innovating some of the top Congolese dancing styles like “Kotcho kotcho”, “Ndombolo” and Kibinda Nkoi”. This earned him the stage name “King of 6,600 dancing styles” amongst his fans in DR Congo.
In Nairobi, Radja made his debut with shows at the then popular Makuti Park Club in Nairobi South B back in 1997. Veteran promoter and Makuti Club proprietor Machua Waithaka eulogised Radja as a top stage show innovator who encouraged many other up and coming dancers.
“He will be remembered for his efforts in having popularised most of the top Congolese dancing styles in Kenya alongside his group Station Japan,” Machua said.
Before forming his group, Radja had stints with Zaiko Langa Langa, Victoria Eleison under King Kester Emeneya amongst other groups.
Notably, it was Emeneya (formerly with Papa Wemba’s Viva La Musica band) who was also behind the innovation of the famous “Kiwanzenza” dancing style.
As Evala recalls it was after Radja relocated back to DR Congo in 2007 that he ventured into the Kenya music scene with the Station Japan Fiesta Band.
Other Nairobi based Congolese rhumba groups like Rhumba Japan Band also followed in the footsteps of Radja Kula’s band. Rhumba Japan used to perform at the then-popular Simmers Restaurant, Citizen Vibro Club amongst other spots.
Others who eulogised Radja Kula include veteran Mombasa based rhumba fan Geoffrey Luyuku and Sammy Wamuri (Ya Kembo) of Nairobi.
Bana Mazembe online show
The Bana Mazembe band, an offshoot of the legendary Super Mazembe band, will tomorrow (August 23) host a select online show via Facebook live. Led by Longwa Disco Ngoie Bana Mazembe will feature veteran singer Padi Makani, saxophone player Paula Muchesi, keyboard player Kadede amongst others. Notably, Paula is among the top Kenyan lady saxophone players.
Speaking to Daily Nation earlier in the week, Longwa said during the show to start at 10 pm (East Africa time) they will treat their fans to a repertoire of both new and old popular rhumba songs.
“It’s been mainly due to requests from fans that we chose to stage the online show especially during this time of the Covid-19 pandemic.’ he said. He noted that during the show they would also dedicate songs to fallen legends of the Super Mazembe band Kasongo wa Kanena and Dodo Doris who passed on earlier in the year.
The two were among other leading music stars both local and international who died earlier this year including Cameroonian Manu Dibango, country music icon Kenny Rodgers, Congolese Soukous legend Aurlus Mabele, Aziz Abdi, ohangla stars Lady Maureen, Abenny Jachiga, twist legend John Nzenze, Benga musicians Jimmy Wayuni and Omondi Longlilo.
Fans can contact the group through Facebook: Longwa Ngoie/ longwa Disco, Twitter: longwa1, InstaGram; longwangoie, YouTube: Longwa Ngoie Bana Mazembe, Number: 0727 223344.