Remmy Ongala passed away at his home in Dar es Salaam on Monday 13th December 2010.
"Working with Remmy was one of the real pleasures. There was a delightful, effortless musicality about everything he did, and once he and his band were fired up, they could take you away into their own unique, mesmerising world.
I loved his voice, and I loved the man. We shall miss him."
"Everyone at WOMAD and Real World were deeply saddened to hear of the death of one of Tanzania's, indeed Africa's, most inspirational musicians Remmy Ongala. Remmy performed with WOMAD many times and was a hugely popular and influential artist. His distinctive style of Ubongo music was loved by audiences throughout the world and he will be remembered for his outspoken Swahili lyrics which championed the urban poor. He and his band Super Matimila will continue to touch people through the recordings he made, both with Real World and WOMAD Select. Our thoughts are with his wife and family during this sad time."
(WOMAD & Real World)
Known as the "Doctor", Remmy originally came from Kindu in North Eastern Zaire. He performed in bands from the age of sixteen, learning his craft from his father, who was a well-respected, traditional musician. In 1978 Remmy travelled to Dar es Salaam where he joined Orchestra Super Makassy and later formed his own band, Super Matimila, named after the local businessman who bought and owned their instruments.
His presence was almost majestic and his distinct voice, rich and soulful, soared above the lilting rhythms of the Super Matimila. The rolling melodic drive of Zairean soukous is undeniable, yet there is also the influence of traditional Tanzanian rhythms and hints of Latin and Soul.
In Tanzania, Remmy's popularity was unrivalled; his reputation preceded him even to the remotest parts of the bush. His audience saw his lyrics as allegories, often attacking the country's ruling elite. He never assumed the mantle of spokesman for the masses but did both articulate the concerns of ordinary Tanzanians and initiate debate, with, for example, his song about AIDS, 'Mambo Kwa Soksi'. As he himself previously said, "I am successful in Tanzania because I write songs about serious topics ... my music is known as 'ubongo beat', because in Swahili 'ubongo' means brain and my music is heavy thinking music."
The Real World Team are very excited that The Creole Choir Of Cuba made a recent performance on the Live Dutch Television programme, The Raymann Show.
Watch the Creole Choir effortlessly performing "L'Atobonite Oh" in the last 5 minutes of the video.
Catch them performing the soulful songs of Christmas plus traditional gospel favorites and check out the rousing video of "Last Month of the Year".
The original song can be found on their Grammy award winning Christmas album GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN. Though it's been out for a while, the CD was recently named one of the 9 best things about Christmas by the Chicago Tribune.
Samuel Yirga is a young pianist from Addis Ababa, introduced to Real World through his involvement with the band Dub Colossus. He has only been playing piano for a little over 5 years, but at the the age of 25 he has developed into a prodigy in Ethiojazz.
Samuel will play a special 25 minute set of solo piano at 6.30pm on Saturday 11th December in The Front Room at the Southbank Centre (in the foyer of the Queen Elizabeth Hall).
In the studio at Real World while recording the first Dub Colossus album, the dreadlocked Samuel looks up from the piano he has been playing without a break for the past couple of hours. Just before making the trip to England (his first ever journey outside of Ethiopia), a friend found him a piano, the first he has ever owned. "Most musicians don't have any instruments, so to be here is amazing." He plays one night a week in Addis's only jazz club/coffee bar, where the way he mixes Keith Jarrett and Herbie Hancock with Ethiojazz has won him a cult following already, despite the fact he only finished music school at the start of 2008. "I take traditional music and turn it around, and people in Ethiopia are starting to listen to the way it swings now. Our musical culture is under attack from inside and out, it's all rock bands, hip-hop groups and pop singers, and nobody can afford to run a big band. "
Since that first trip Samuel has been touring internationally with Dub Colossus. This December he has just finished recording his debut solo album for Real World Records for release in 2011.
"Descendants of Haitians who made the journey from one island to the other, the university-trained singers have made it thier mission to unearth work songs and resistance anthems." The Sunday Times
A great show from Portico Quartet last night at the ICA. If you're lucky enough to have tickets for tonight's show you are in for a treat.
We've been recording both nights, so hopefully some interesting sounds will come out of that for those who've missed the shows and we grabbed a moment with Jack, Milo, Duncan and Nick in the splendid Nash room at the ICA to get them on camera talking about life on the road, the evolution of their sound and the new - John Leckie remastered - release of their Mercury nominated debut album 'Knee Depp In The North Sea' on Real World Records.
Time Out says:
Second night here from this ace Mercury-nominated post-jazz band with support from Lebanese worldbeat trumpeter who adds a vibrant edge to blending jazz and classical Arabic music - he will also join PQ for a special collaboration.
Every day is Human Rights Day but this 10th December, the world goes Barefoot Against Poverty
Richard Branson, Peter Gabriel and Jeff Skoll join campaign to raise awareness for human rights by tackling poverty.
"I'm delighted to support the Barefoot Against Poverty campaign. It's extraordinary and shameful that we allow millions of children to go without food in their bellies or shoes on their feet." Peter Gabriel
Join Jumoke Fashola on BBC Radio London with her Inspirit show where she talks with Emilia from The Creole Choir Of Cuba. Also, two live songs "Peze Cafe" and "Se Lavi".
Listen again until this Sunday.
(starts 2 hours 38 mins into the show)
Nick (AKA Dubulah) Page & Bernard O'Neill from Syriana made a recent appearance on DJ Ritu's 'A World in London' show.
If you missed the chat and tracks, listen again until Saturday.
(interview starts 1 hour into the show)
The Creole Choir will be giving a free instore performance at Ray's Jazz Record Store this Thursday 2nd December - Starting at 6pm.
(Upstairs at Foyles bookshop, 113-119 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0EB)
...haunting and beautiful...I found myself gobsmacked by how beautiful both sets of voices are. They can do sweet, rich and worshipful, often simultaneously, and the variety in the voices is as much as any orchestra could present; this is a choir of the finest quality. Musicnews.com ★ ★ ★ ★ ★