Author Topic: Another Zaire Export to East Africa - Jojo Ikomo and Bana Ngenge  (Read 6591 times)

MwanaMokili on: July 25, 2019, 08:28

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Jojo Ikomo ( sometimes written as Djo djo Ikomo) was born in Mbandaka on the 12th March, 1952 in the Republic of Zaire.

In 1970 he composed his first song "Sema Sema" accompanied by the Orchestre Tabou National and In 1973 he joined Orchestre VeVe of Kiamuangana Mateta with whom he enjoyed a lot of success, particularly with songs like "Maina" and "Kaniuka (Kanyuka)".

In 1975 Jojo Ikomo left VeVe to join Orchestre  Bana Moja. Along Jojo in the group were Thomas & Felly Ndjoku, the sons of N'Djoku Ey'Obaba, former governor of Kinshasa, and jojo's brother Alexis Ikomo. Bana means offspring and they were literally from the same family. Thomas Ndjoku was also owner of the Bana Modja label and produced many bands such as Yoka Lokole, the breakout band from which Papa Wemba and many members of Zaiko and Viva La Musica emerged.
They were called "Belgicains," because they studied abroad, when they returned they were shunned by their parents for taking to music so moved to N'Djili, Zaire on their return.

Because of family pressure they did not tour and perform but rather concentrated on recording and issuing 45s.
Felly went on to be the arranger for Lita Bembo. Thomas became a Christian minister and a gospel artist.

Jojo took the new Bana Moja to Uganda on tour, but they quickly disbanded later the same year and he took several members with him to Kenya where they regrouped as Bana Ngenge but only lasted a year before splitting again. 

Members of Bana Ngenge were :
Jojo Ikomo (Band Leader and Vocals ), Moreno Batamba ( Vocals), Fataki "Los Los" Lokassa (Vocals/guitar), Alexis Ikomo, Roxy Tshimpaka (guitar solo), Nsilu Wabansilu "Manitcho"  (bass), Lawison Somana(sax), "Ochudis" Mandala Otis Muissa (Vocals),  Nzengele Saida (guitar), Beya Maduma a.k.a. Moro Maurice ( sax).

The song "Bana ya Ngenge" tells the story of their formation.

Jojo also re-recorded his Veve hit with Bana Ngenge, this time renaming it Kayuma :

Among  Bana Ngenge's other hits are : 


Malanda :


Jojo also recorded with another group known as Bana Lisanga. This may have been just another name for his group as most of the band were the same as Bana ngenge.

Later the group broke up and his band members left to join other groups in Nairobi, and Joj continued recording songs using his Bana Moja (Modja) label and session musicians, under the name "Jojo Ikomo and his orchestre".

Kingo Mwambe :

Moseka :

The Bana Moja the label, was created to release Bana Ngenge records and continued in use long after the Bana Ngenge band. Examples are when Moreno Batamba one of Bana Ngenge's vocalists recorded his songs, he used the label and called his band Moja one (although they were mostly session musicians).
Maya Tu :

After the group broke up Bana Ngenge musicians joined other groups :
Nsilu wa Bansilu (Manichu) and Fataki Lokassa Joined samba Mapangala's Les Kinois, Moreno Batamba Joined Les Noirs while others joined Orchestre Shika Shika or  became session musicians in Nairobi.
 Jojo Ikomo stayed in Nairobi untl the 1980's when he left to go to Kinshasa and later joined Empire Bakuba.

Here is his song while in Empire Bakuba :

Pepe Kalle & Empire Bakuba - Simplicite (Djodjo Ikomo) 1993

Not much is heard of Jojo Ikomo nowadays, but he is one of the musicians who spiced up Nairobi and Kenya Music Life.