Them Mushrooms

Bio

Them Mushrooms is a band playing mostly Chakacha, some Benga and also some reggae. They are most famous for the Swahili song 'Jambo Bwana.' The band is composed of Teddy Kalanda, Henry Ndenge Saha, Ben Mutwiwa, among other musicians. They mainly do covers of previously written hit songs.

The group was founded in 1969 as Avenida Success. The original line-up consisted of brothers Teddy Kalanda, Billy Sarro, George Zirro, John Katana and two other members. A fifth brother Dennis Kalume Harrison joined two years later. In 1972 the group was renamed Them Mushrooms.

The group originally played the beach hotel circuit in Mombasa until 1986, with its coastal music influences. They then moved to Nairobi in 1987. The group almost disbanded in 1992, when its drummer and songwriter Dennis Kalume died, and Zirro left the band preferring a solo career. The group was renamed Uyoga band in 2002, but the name 'Them Mushrooms' has since been taken back.

In 2009 bandleader John Katana was among four pioneering Kenyan artists given Head of State Commendation awards by president Mwai Kibaki.

Other musicians have joined the band to keep it going strong. The band took their name from the mystical magic mushroom species, that grow wildly across the depths of Africa's rain forests. They are seen as East Africa's premier band.

Their famous composition 'Jambo Bwana' was penned by Teddy Kalanda, the band leader. This song went on to sell 30,000 copies. 'Jambo Bwana,' borrowed from a popular Kenyan folk song of the same name was an instant hit in the 1980s.

The band's songs have been sampled far and wide all over the world. One of their hits, 'Ndogo Ndogo', was adapted as soundtrack of the Paul Singh-produced Kiswahili language film titled 'Mahari'. Them Mushroom have released several albums, including Jambo Bwana (1980), Mama Africa (1983), Zilizopendwa (1991), Kazi ni Kazi (1996), among others.

Photos

KEMombasa, Kenya
In operation since: 
1972

Contact

+254722775695
John Katana
Profile added by Stanley Gazemba on 30 May 2014
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