Real Sounds of Africa

Decades Active: 1980s 2000s


The Real Sounds, an 11-piece line-up based in the Zimbabwean capital of Harare and consisting entirely of Zairean musicians, are the most successful proponents of the rumba outside Zaire itself. The group was founded by guitarist Ghaby Mumba, who was born in Kinshasa and played with a variety of local bands before joining the Government-sponsored Orchestre Diables Noirs, playing a mixture of jazz, rock ‘n’ roll and rumba in the OK Jazz mould. In 1967, two years after the end of the civil war, Mumba left for Zambia, capitalizing on the local interest in Congolese music with a soukous band called OC Jazz. His second outfit, Les Elite Bantous, with its less-than-subtle reference to the influential Congolese band Bantous De La Capitale, took the name game even further. He formed the Real Sounds in 1975. The band moved from Zambia to Zimbabwe in 1978, when they were invited to take up a residency in a hotel in Umtali. As the Zimbabwean war of independence...

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