Les Wanyika

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The death of bandleader and guitarist John Ngereza in February 2000 put the future of the Kenyan band Les Wanyika in jeopardy. An offshoot of Simba Wanyika, a band that moved from Tanzania to Kenya in…
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The death of bandleader and guitarist John Ngereza in February 2000 put the future of the Kenyan band Les Wanyika in jeopardy. An offshoot of Simba Wanyika, a band that moved from Tanzania to Kenya in 1991, Les Wanyika had continued to inspire dancing with their energetic approach to African rumba. Although little known outside of Africa, the band was cherished in its homeland and their lengthy list of regional hits include "Sina Makosa," "Paulina," and "Pamela." The website www.natari.com described their sound as "crystal clear with lovely guitaring and infectious singing," and www.majama.com claimed that "this is classic Swahili rumba with great guitar interweaving and some very cool horn/sax combinations." Combining new recordings of old hits and new tunes, Les Wanyika recorded their final album, Amigo, in 1998. Rhythm guitarist and chief composer Omari Shebani died shortly before the album's release. For a brief period, in the late '70s, members of Les Wanyika also played together as Super Wanyika.