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by Simaro Lutumba
Simaro Lutumba (1938 to 2019) was an Angola-born Congolese musician, with 'TPOK Jazz'. Simaro Massiya Lutumba Ndomanueno was born in the Maquela do Zombo District of Angola on March 19th 1938, though his parents quickly emigrated to Congo Kinshasa (later called Zaire but now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo). As a rhythm guitarist and songwriter, he first played for the 'rumba' musician 'Franco' Luambo Makiadi in 1961. Josky Kiambukuta soon joined them, followed by Ndombe Opetum, and after Youlou Mabiala and Madilu System also came on board, the group became known as 'OK Jazz' (however, the latter two later left to pursue their own solo careers). Following the renaming of the band to 'TPOK Jazz', Lutumba served for a time as their vice president, and accompanied them during the long touring trips to Europe by Franco in the 1980s. In 1974, he composed the band's hit song "Mabele", sung by Sam Mangwana, and this earned him the nickname 'Poet'. He was controversially incarcerated, along with Franco and other musicians, in Makala Prison in the late 1970s over two songs deemed to be obscene by the authorities. During his lifetime, he was widely-considered to be one of the greatest poets, singers and philosophers in Congolese music, and was credited with composing many more songs for the band, including "Likambo Zi Tu Zoto Esilkata Te", "Oko Regretter Ngai Mama", "Bodutaka", "Maya" and "Eau Benite". Following Franco's death in 1989, Lutumba met with his family to agree a 70%-30% split of any revenues in the future. This arrangement worked well from 1989 until 1993 - however, the band was sadly dissolved at that point after disagreements in the way funds were being shared. (In the following January he formed the ensemble 'Bana OK', using the majority of the musicians sacked from 'TPOKJazz' - about thirty in total.) Simaro Lutumba died at a hospital in Paris, France, on March 30th 2019, aged 81. The cause of death was not announced.
Posted: 3rd May 2019
Hundreds of very talented musicians pass away each year, some without much recognition at all. On "Rest In Peace", I aim to give them a fitting 'send-off', with a decent Tribute. I hope you will join me in marking their passing.....
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