Them Mushrooms 50th anniversary celebrations set for Nairobi

John Katana

Them Mushrooms band leader John Katana. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Members of the legendary Them Mushrooms Band are set to hold a special concert to mark their 50th anniversary dubbed ‘Them Mushrooms at 50’. The event will be held next Sunday at the Carnivore Restaurant in Nairobi.

The show will be a culmination of a series of buildup activities which also involved a performance tour by the group to the United Kingdom earlier in the year.
 The tour was made possible by a group of their fans under the auspices of “Kenya and Friends in the Park” in the UK.

It was during this tour that they performed at various spots in London.

Band leader John Katana, speaking to Saturday Nation earlier this week, said the celebration bash was open to all fans of the group who had been supportive of them throughout the last five decades.
 “We invite all our fans to join us in celebrating 50 years of our musical journey,’’ he said.
Besides Them Mushrooms, others expected to perform at the show include Dipa Konnection, Pressmen Band and Juma Tutu.

Notably, Tutu, who specialises in Swahili Jazz, previously performed with Them Mushrooms band as a saxophone player. Also expected will be veteran radio and TV broadcaster Fred Obachi Machoka.
The entrance fees for the show to start at 6pm is Sh1,500 (advance) and Sh2,000 (gate). Dresscode recommended for revellers attending the show will be the best of the 1970s to 1980s.

During the show, Katana said, they have lined up performances of some of their popular songs ranging from the ever-green 'Jambo Bwana' hit song composed by Teddy Kalanda (released in 1980) alongside other songs.

The group's beats range from Chakacha, reggae and benga among others.
 Notably, Them Mushrooms, which started as a family band in 1972 alongside some friends in Mombasa is arguably among the longest-surviving Kenyan bands.

The original band brothers were Teddy Kalanda, Dennis Kalume (deceased), George Zirro (deceased), Billy Sarro and John Katana.
At the moment, the group features John Katana, Billy alongside other session members.
 In the late 1980s after relocating from Mombasa to Nairobi they released the popular At the Carnivore album. Other songs by the group include Wazee Wakatike, Nyambura, Ndogo Ndogo, Unkula Huu and Hapo Kale.