New book on rhumba music launched

Ben Hinga

Ben Hinga Band leader of the Afro Ngoma band

Photo credit: Pool

A new book on the evolving rhumba music evolution titled Rumba Evolution was recently released both online and on book shelves.

The book authored by George “Jojo” Ndege, a US- based Kenyan promoter living in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is a musical journey of the rhumba evolution through the years and in different countries.

Speaking to Saturday Nation earlier this week, Jojo said he would be travelling to Kenya this weekend to finalise plans for the official launch of the book in Kenya.

“It’s been my long-time ambition to author a book on rhumba music, something I have spent many years in the USA, Europe , Africa and other regions trying to promote, “ he says.

For him, it was his choice of having the book launched in Kenya, his home country, though now living in USA.

The cover of  Rhumba Evolution.

Photo credit: Pool

As he pointed out, “Rumba Evolution is a captivating and informative book about how a type of music unwillingly left Africa on slave ships, went to Cuba, and then to the rest of the world before returning home to Africa as Congolese rumba music and becoming a global phenomenon”.

Notably in the book he traces the journey of rumba from its roots in Congo and Angola to the Cuban slave plantations where African slaves fused it with ‘tres,’ a modified Spanish guitar to create Cuban sounds.

George 'Jojo' Ndege

George 'Jojo' Ndege the Kenyan US-based author of the new book on Rhumba music.

Photo credit: Pool

Back in Congo, where it was warmly embraced and made more popular with many legends like Grand Kalle (Joseph Kabeselleh), and Franco Luambo  Makiadi, its re-Africanised and transformed to Congolese rumba and then re-exported to  other parts of the world.

In Chapter 10 of the book, he digs into Kenya’s “disconnected music history and why rumba is sometimes blamed for Kenya’s failures on the international music stage.”

Like many other books on rhumba music, the spellings ‘rhumba’ and ‘rumba’ appear to have been interchanged.

Jojo was instrumental in opening up the diaspora market for Kenyan music and comedy. He has worked with Redykulass, Redsan, Amani, Nameless, Jabali Afrika Afrika, Gidigidi Majimaji, Jua Cali, Nonini, Samba Mapangala and many more.

 The author can be contacted through  [email protected]  for more on the book .

Meanwhile, The Afro Ngoma band under the leadership of Ben Hinga, is among the top groups entertaining music fans with a variety of beats across the country. The band does rhumba and zilizopendwa and local hits from Nyanza, Western, Rift Valley and Eastern Kenya.

Others in the group are Laptop (lead guitar), Maestro Sande Asweda, (lead vocalist) Obare (rhythm guitar), keyboard player Aki and bass guitarist, Mose Masheri.

Others are singers, Sankukuu Muscador dummer Allan and Mark (sound Engineer). The team currently performs on Wednesdays at Pardus Lounge, Thika, on Fridays at Garissa Road View, Makongeni also on Thika and on Saturdays and Sunday at Mugoz Choma Base, Shujaa Mall in Nairobi Umoja Estate.


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