Artist: Moreno & L'Orch First Moja-One
Title: Vol. 2 More Pili
Cat. Nos: AITDIG002
Label: AIT Digital
Format: digital-only downloads & streams
Release date: 31st March 2014
It sounds simple doesn't it: you look good, you've got a great voice and you perform with great musicians. So how come, outside of Kenya at least, Moreno Batamba is still a musician known only to connoisseurs of East African music? Part of the reason must be that he died young, in 1993 aged only 38.
Originally from Kisangani in eastern Congo, Moreno left school in 1971 and moved to join his fellow Congolese musicians, first in Uganda, then Kenya and in 1978, Tanzania, where he sang for the renowned Orchestra Safari Sound. By 1980 he was back in Nairobi to form the first of several Orchestra Moja One bands. The music scene was then vital and vigorous, and these units, which included some of East Africa's best musicians, were studio bands that concentrated on recording, frequently switching labels according to who was paying, and selling, the most.
In 1983 Moreno briefly joined Samba Mapangala’s Orchestra Virunga and here, on our 4th track 'Dunia Ni Duara', you can hear him shouting out to Samba, who's returning the favour by providing backing vocals. In other songs there are shout-outs to “Jacomo”, Felix Njakumu, producer of these tracks and to “Ron Andrews”, a director of the record label.
As in our 1st Moreno album, 'Sister Pili + 2', there are more songs in homage to Moreno's muse, his girlfriend a Tanzanian model named Pili, but on the ultra-rare 'Mariana' we hear him professing love for another. The cue sheets to these tapes don't list the backing musicians and so we can only guess if the marvellously named “Lava Machine” was on drums, and the keyboard player, so unusually featured on 'Matanga', is unknown.
With their ears open to the world - check the tight reggae groove of 'Sitaki Mambo' - Congolese musicians working in East Africa through the late 1970s and into the 80s created some of the finest popular music of the era. Taken, in the main, from original master tapes and including two previously unreleased recordings, we are proud to present Moreno Batamba and his music.
1.Tusijuane 09:01 (1982 NYIKA02)
2.Matanga 09:20 (1984 AIT/MOJA06)
3.Pili Mungwana 05:09 (1983 AIT/MOJA04b)
4.Dunia Ni Duara 09:34 (1983 AIT/MOJA 01)
5.Sisili 09:02 (rec: 14th Dec. 1981 / previously unreleased)
6.Sitaki Mambo 04:52 (1983 AIT/MOJA04a)
7.Mariana 09:02 (rec: 14th Dec. 1981 / previously unreleased)
8.Bokila 09:18 (1983 AIT/MOJA05)
Sister Pili + 2: some previous press
“This is timeless, exuberant dance music” The Guardian
“designed to produce euphoria asap, and succeeds.” fRoots
“There's that heat of the moment joy” Songlines
“I hope Sterns will continue to unearth, restore and re-present this remarkable music to our ears.” Muzikifan