Artist Highlight: Los Comorados

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A QUICK glimpse at Los Comorados reveals that the band came to stay and its legacy will live on through music generations to come.

The band still commands large pockets of die hard faithfuls who remember it for hit songs like Chomba Malaila for example, that took turns at live shows and the only radio station  then, Zambia Broadcasting Services (ZBS).

This band ranks among the country’s oldest after the Cool Knights, Tinkles, Black Souls, Fire Balls, Boy Friends and Kingston Market, which later became the Great Witch.

Though Los Comorados never played pure Zamrock, it had a combination of western rock, Spanish and some funk music spiced with Zambian traditional sounds.

In addition, the band also churned out Latin sounds of the Morelo, Borelo and Casanova type of sounds.

Los Comorados boasting of  the best breed of Zambian musicians, surfaced on the local music scene in 1968 in Kitwe where, veteran musician Tony Maonde then playing for Rokana Melodies and Goodfellow Sinkala from  the Drifters, came together to form  what became one of  Zambia’s most outstanding and consistent bands.

“It was in Kitwe in 1968 that the late Maonde and Sinkala formed the Los Comorados.

The  band   had   no   manager and the instruments were bought through a loan from Piano House,” said Billy Mushomwa, a bass player who joined the outfit many years later.

“The band has grown with time to be what it is today, an outfit that has remained strong up to now,” Mushomwa said in a recent interview from Livingstone where the group is now based.

Upon formation in Kitwe, Maonde was on Keyboard, Sinkala (lead), Frederick Mwale (bass) and Jairos Chilumba on drums.

By then, Nkana Hotel, and bars like the underground Chambeshi and Astra as well as, Chawama or popularly known as Kabala on the outskirts of Chimwemwe Township for example, were the main areas where most bands that included Congolese outfits like Omela Mawa, Kai-Kai  and Orchestra VeVe, also plied their trade.

While those were the in thing joints, Los Comorados were regulars at the now dilapidated Kitwe Club as well as, the Italian Club which later became Matipi Sports Club.

But Kitwe did not seem to be a suitable base for Los Comorados and just at the beginning of 1969, the band clinched a deal at Fair Mount Hotel in  Livingstone   which  became its base.

Around 1974, Los Comorados entered DB studios  in  Lusaka to record its first single, Kandeya, flip-sided by Ubwalwa, which signalled the presence of what became Zambia’s most promising band.

The single was released by Teal Record Company then operating on Arusha Street in Ndola where Voyagers now stands.

It was not long that the band re-entered the studio to do its hit single, Chomba Malaila (Masamba ya nshiku wa fwala), a song that became an anthem in tavern juke boxes and social gatherings.

While at Fair Mount, Maonde quit the band to join the Broadway Quintet before going ahead to spearhead the formation of Mulungushi Band in 1977.

Other   members including  bassist Frederick Mwale followed and were replaced by former Jokers Band member Kirby Kampasa, while drummer Jairos Chilumba’s place was taken up by Prosper Ilunga.

Other  member, however joined the group that included Andrew Mumba on bass and vocals,   Paul Bwalya and Gideon Kalengo (Keyboard/guitar), Billy Chitimpa (guitar/drums), Edmond Kabaso on guitar and keyboard, with Frank Musakanya and Paul Kabaso on guitar and bass respectively.

In 1978, the band clinched a deal at the Mosi-Oa-Tunya Inter Continental Hotel in Livingstone where it remained resident up to the  close  of 1998 when the hotel gave way to the new structure, the Sun Hotel.

Los Comorados then left to go and perform at Eat Rite (Masaka)and  Pub and Grill from 1998 up to 2003, when the Sun International  Hotel  signed the band on.

There was some transformation  in  the band letting in new blood like guitarist Billy Mushongo who took over from Kirby Kampasa after his demise in 1999.

A few others also came in to reinforce the band that included Sanifa Lubasi, Senzeni Dube, a former B-Sharp member, Berliner Beene, Eunice Maseka, all on vocals, while Daniel Siame came in on Keyboard as well as vocals.

Others were, Bornwell Lifasi (drums) Olmert Chomba (vocals), while founder member Sinkala has remained band leader to this day.

The  band wants to revisit the studios soon to put down what Mushomwa  termed as the best of  Zambian music.

Los Comorados growing in experience and exposure has vowed to take the musical war up to the wire till d-day.

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