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Country Kenya Genres coastal pop taarab Website www.rootscampkenya.com Festival Sauti za Busara 2011 Recordings
Mombasa Michikicho and Lololo (2010)
Mombasa based taarab group Lelelele Africa, formerly known as Diamond Star, formed in 1995. Over the years the band felt they needed a more original title, primarily one which was not in English, so in 2006 band leader Mbaraka Haji and new producer Elchie conceived the band name Lelelele Africa, which is how they are known today.
In recent years, as Diamond Star, the band graced many state functions and commercial shows around East Africa and toured Germany in 2005. However, times are tough as Amin Elchie, producer of the group says, “All the band members have day jobs as the going hasn’t been easy in recent years to survive on music alone”. Keeping their music alive, they play along the coast and at Muslim weddings across Kenya, which provide a gainful income.
The band’s passion lies in keeping alive traditional taarab music from the Kenyan Swahili-speaking cost of East Africa. Composed of seven members, the group uses harmonium, violins, tambourines, and bongos fused with more modern instruments - electric, acoustic and bass guitars and keyboard. Along with vocals and the chorus, Lelelele Africa truly represents the richness and renewal of taarab music from the Kenyan side.
At present, the band has recently been creating modern digital recordings and music videos of their past work, which were originally recorded in cassette format. In addition to this project they continue to rework traditional songs and styles that producer Elchie says “would otherwise disappear if not recorded and stored for posterity”.With thanks to Fly540