Issa Juma & Super Wanyika Stars – Bwana Musa

Today marks the release of a digital only collection of music from Issa Juma and Super Wanyika Stars available on Sterns Music. Issa was a Tanzanian musician who made his voice heard in Kenya singing Swahili rhumba music. His band was one of a number of Wanyika bands that featured members born in Tanzania who made their mark on the Kenyan music scene. These groups dominated the Nairobi nightclub scene and recording industry during the 1980s. Issa started out playing in his native Tanzania before moving to Uganda to sing in groups performing in Tanzanian, Congolese and Ugandan styles.

In the late 1970s Issa moved to Nairobi to pursue his music career. He joined a number of Wanyika bands who were popular at the time. He quickly rose to the attention of producers and audiences everywhere. His distinct, raspy voice was the perfect match for Swahili rhumba music and he became one of the most highly regarded vocalists in the East African music scene.

“Some of the earliest Super Wanyika recordings have a Congolese flavour in the guitar mix and the full horn section, and this is one of the interesting aspects of Issa Juma’s music: his sound could change with each record producer and each session, even when with the same producers. One recording might suggest a Congolese influence, another (e.g. Mwanaidi), would have a rhythm and solo guitar interplay reminiscent of Les Wanyika, while yet another might merge elements of Kenya’s benga style with Swahili rumba. Of the different Wanyika bands, Issa Juma’s groups brought more variety from one recording to the next, and perhaps a greater willingness to challenge the boundaries of Kenyan Swahili rumba. Under Issa’s leadership, his branch of the Wanyika lineage was perhaps the most innovative, adventuresome, and prolific of all.” – Douglas B. Paterson

Sterns Music also released a nice collection of Issa Juma & Super Wanyika Stars entitled World Defeats the Grandfathers back in 2010, which is where Douglas B. Paterson’s liner notes are taken from. Issa was a terrific singer with an excellent band featuring “Adamu” aka Adam Solomon and “Abbu” aka Abbu Omar Prof. Jr. tearing it up on guitar. Have a listen to “Carolina” below and let that rhumba swing you out of your seat.

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