KNOW YOUR BAND SEGEMENT
By Geofrey Chimphepo Zulu
The journey of Masasu Band is incomplete without us talking about Emmanuel Mulemena who was the most famous Kaonde singer of the 1970s and early 80s, and the most celebrated Kaonde musician of all time.
Sadly, at the height of his career, Emmanuel Mulemena died, in February 1982. His band (Sound inspectors) changed their name to ‘Mulemena Boys’ in honour of their founder.
After the death of his Father, John Mulemena was set to be the leader of his father’s group. Not forgetting that Mulemena boys had the likes of Brian Chibangu, Joseph Mutemba, Clement Mubanga and Gift Chisha. Gift Chisha was a cousin to John Mulemena. Other members included Dickson Mponda, Stan Shalapo and John Mulemena himself. After misunderstanding, John Mulemena and Dickson Mponda left. Mulemena Boys was then led by Brian Chibangu. John went to join Masasu Band and that time, Masasu band was led by Jeasie Bwaluka and in the file and ranks of Masasu Band was Timothy Bwaluka the young brother to Jeasie.
Masasu Band members were:-
John Mulemena (Lead guitars, vocals, Composer),
Jeasie Bwaluka (Co-founder,bass guitar, vocals, Composer),
Oswald Mwelwa (Rhythm guitar backing Vocals),
Henry Lwanga (drums)
Evans Bwalya (Drums)
Brian Majila (Drums)
Abeaut Madichi (Bass, guitar)
Francis Chisenga (Co-founder, Vocals, Composer)
Timothy Bwaluka (Guitars & Composer)
John Mulemena and Masasu Band are known for the hits that marked the High Life throughout the watering holes of Kitwe Kamunga, Chimwemwe and Kwacha, Kosovo in Luanshya, Chiwempala, Lusaka and Ndola.
Announcing their arrival on Musical scene, they released singles like Kisosolwa in 1986 composed by Jessie Bwaluka, Kuluba ba ngwee, Munda Mukyabu, Makubi, Musungilayi and Mwanenu namukana.
Munda Mukyabu alone sold 6,000 copies, Kisosolwa and Musungilayi sold about 10,000 copies range.
With the name ‘Masasu’ which is a slang for something powerful or extraordinary, anchored themselves on the scene with the release of their smash hit album ‘ Litande’ in 1987 on Vinyl (LP) and Cassette. The album has six tracks namely;
Litande composed by Jessie Bwaluka, Umwaume bwa bufuba composed by John Mulemena, Masasu by Jeasie Bwaluka, John wana wandi , Lesa upawemazhala and Chilalelale by John Mulemena saw the album pronated the air waves and many social gathering like bars, taverns, weddings, and other gatherings.
Sadly in 1988, founder members Jeasie Bwaluka and Francis Chisenga passed on in succession. At the time of duo’s death, the band had completed working on the second album and at the time of release they named the album as ‘Bwaluka’ as a tribute to Jeasie Bwaluka. The album has songs; Bwaluka, Balume Mwankana, umusungu bwabula kajo, Icilye ng’omba, Masasu Twikatane, and
Before Bwaluka album was released, Timothy Bwaluka left Masasu Band and went on to form his own band Bwaluka Founders Band in 1990 and would go on to released two albums Kangube and Nkhwabilo.
In Bwaluka album, Masasu Band lined up as; John Mulemena (lead guitars & Vocals), Oswald Mwelwa (Rhythm & Vocals), Brian Majila & Henry Lwanga (Drums), Chiinda (Drums) Abeaut Madichi (Bass guitar) and Patson Chisenga (Vocals). Patson Chisenga was a lead vocalist on Balume Mwankana and the Alfred Chisala Junior like melody – Icilye ng’omba.
In Bwaluka album, Masasu slightly departed from their usual Litande or Mwenenu Namukana like sounds and tried something different. However, they quickly got back to Masasu Band sounds in 1992 when they released Eva album that saw Madichi play bass guitar more like the late Jeasie Bwaluka.
Eva album has songs like: Eva, Nkaya nabo, Nangu Mupate, Nkilanguluka, Tufumepo and Juba ba Songwele. In 1997 Julia album was release with hits like: Julia, Na mayo bwabufuba, cinshi wingacita, Tribute to PK Chishala, among others.
The Band went on to release Nsakwa yaba Kaonde album in 2004. Unfortunately, two years later Madichi and Majila passed on. John Mulemena and Oswald Mwelwa continued recording and performing with new recruits. It was not long that Oswald Mwelwa also dead.
John Mulemena and Masasu fame and popularity continued though John was seen as a solo artist. At this point we saw Derrick Malupande coming into the picture. Derrick was at some point part with Oliya band. John went on to release Tuwele album. However, 2003 a big blow hit Masasu Band when John Mulemena died. Though people thought that was the end of Masasu Band Derrick Malupande (guitars & Vocals), James Mudenda (Rhythm & Vocals), Sikulo Banda (Drums) and others emerged and went on performing, eventually released Twajila ba Mulemena album in 2006.
- Litande – Teal records- 1987
- Bwaluka- Teal records- 1989
- Litande – Modeca UK – 1990
- Eva- Teal records- 1992
- Julia –JM studio- 1997
- Tuwele- DNI 2004
- Nsakwa ya bakaonde 2004
- Kyandemena Supershine 2005
- Twajila ba Mulemena 2006
- 1987 Best album Litande- Zambia daily Mail
- 1987 Best Band Zambia Daily Mail
- 1990 performed at WOMAD UK festive
- 2007 Best band Mukuba awards.
Kisosolwa, Kuluba ba ngwee, Munda Mukyabu, Makubi, Musungilayi, Maria Jilaka and Mwanenu namukana.
Derrick Malupande and his colleagues are at the centre of Masasu Band. They are based in Kitwe and they were spotted performing in Kitwe two weeks ago by Charles Kunda former Junior Mulemena boys, Junior Masasu and Robin Stars Member who shared his Kalindula Journey with the author. Efforts are being made to get in touch with Derrick for more insights.