Sema

Remmy Ongala & Orchestre Super Matimila

Released 25 September 1995

  1. Penzi Lauwa
  2. Mwanza
  3. Waseme Waseme
  4. Kilio (The Fish Song)
  5. Tamwiki
  6. Fadhili Ni Utumwa
  7. Mwungo (Naloba)
  8. Players
  9. Lombamba (Sahala Yayala)
  10. Nalia Mwana
  11. Libala

Liner notes

Remmy Ongala and Orchestre Super Matimila are at their very best. Eleven years of touring have distilled the band into a potent performance vehicle that rightly conveys Remmy as one of Africa’s most buoyant and exciting musical stars. This music is called ‘bongo beat’ —the sound and the pulse of Tanzania and its people.

The live tracks were recorded in Sweden in 1994 and in the UK in 1995. Also featured are Radio Tanzania’s 1984 sessions and studio recordings made at Real World over three days following Matimila’s first American tour in September 1993.

Remmy speaks for the disenfranchised and detribalised, telling of their loss, their poverty, their sickness and their dreams in lyrics ranging from ghost stories and tribal histories through to the fable of studied ambiguity that is ‘Kilio’. In a country where mass communication has only very recently been liberalised, and with national television only introduced in 1995, the power of Remmy Ongala’s words is a phenomenon not easily understood here in the West.

But these songs are also celebrations of the joy that is to be found even in lives that teeter on the brink of starvation and despair. In a hard world they celebrate the indomitable spirit of humanity.

Photo credit: Stephen Lovell-Davis.

Listen

Further Listening

  • Mambo

    Remmy Ongala & Orchestre Super Matimila

    Released 02 March 1992

    This album features Remmy Ongala and the band in sparkling form at the 1991 Real World Recording Week. Intricate four-part guitar patterns interlock with bubbling bass lines, while the rhythm shifts seamlessly from a gentle lope to a galloping rhumba.
  • Emotion

    Papa Wemba

    Released 13 March 1995

    Fresh and daring as ever, this world-class singer continues his ascendancy to global notoriety with total emotional impact. A brilliant blast of pop and dance rhythms make up the brightest, most accessible album of Papa Wemba’s career.

Further reading

Remembering Alan James

We are truly devastated to be announcing news of the sudden death of our friend and colleague Alan.

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan at WOMAD 1985: Were you there?

Nusrat's concert at the festival in 1985 was the first in front of a primarily non-Asian audience

What is Qawwali? —A Beginner’s Guide

A brief introduction to the music of the Sufi mystics.

Sheila Chandra recalls her first visit to Real World Studios

A blog by Sheila as part of Real World Tales, marking the label's 25th anniversary in 2014.