Super Mazembe was founded in 1967 as Super Vox in Likasi town. It later shifted to Lubumbashi town, for better growth and where the music industry was centered.
In Lubumbashi, they found that there were a number of other groups known as super Vox, so they changed their name to Super Mazembe - meaning ‘Earth Movers or Bulldozers’ in Lingala. I am not sure whether it was in reverence to the soccer team known as TP Mazembe.
Super Mazembe was comprised of the band leader Didos Mutonkole Longwa, Bukalos Bukassa (lead guitarist), Rapok Kayembe (rythmist), Atia Jo (bass guitarist), Katele Aley (lead composer and vocalist), Dodo Doris (drums), Kassongo Songoley (rythmist) and Charles Kagamba (vocalist).
Later on Super Mazembe crossed to Ndola town in Zambia where the group named their dancing Style Mushosho ( short for M-shock show ) . While in Ndola, the band met Nashil Pitchen, a music producer and the proprietor of the Nairobi’s Eagles Band. Pitchen was impressed with the group and he arranged to bring Super Mazembe to Kenya in 1972.
In Kenya, Mazembe joined the line-up of other bands from Zaire like Orchestra Mangelepa, Les Kinois, Viva Makale, Le Noirs, Boma Liwanza, Bwambe Bwambe among others.
Super Mazembe's had roughly three phases of their music domination in Nairobi. The first was the formative phase after their arrival in Kenya. Among their first hits in 1975 was Bwana Nipe Pesa - A song about a man being asked to provide money for his family upkeep because his wife is not taking good care of his children and she is wandering all over until neighbours do not want to see her:
Super Mazembe got Nairobi's attention with a hit known as Southview in 1977:
Later on the Group had a very successful album featuring Samba Mapangala of Les Kinois as guest vocalist. This album had three major singles that hit the top of the charts :
Shida - Problems in Kiswahili ( 1978 ) :
Mwana Mazembe : (1978 ) :
Samba : ( 1978 ) :
Another notable hit was Na bimaka by Katele Alley :
The Second Phase was when they band recuited additional musicians from a large pool of Zaireans artists in Nairobi. Among the musicians in Kenya who joined Mazembe are Kassongo Wa Kanema,
Fataki Lokassa, Rondo Kandolo, Charles Atei, Lobe Namapako, and Loboko Pasi.
Here is a hit of the Phase Called Kasongo - after Kasongo Wa Kanema, the recent entrant:
The third Phase was their most successful after they recruited Lovy Longoma the son of Vicky Longoma, of the TP OK Jazz fame and brother of Awilo Longoma.
Super Mazembe has a string of hits during this period :
Naleli Libota :
Mazembe’s decline began in 1986 when a businessman confiscated the band’s instruments. The businessman had purchased the equipment for Mazembe and afterward sought to own the rights to the band’s music. Following a protracted period, Lovy Longoma Left to form a groups Orcehstra Super Lovy, some members formed another group known as Mazembe stars, while others remained with the original Super Mazembe.
In the year 1998, Old veterans of the original Super Mazembe regrouped led by Longwa Dido and Atia Jo and started performing as resident band in Nairobi joints. Later on Kasongo Wa Kanema rejoined the group, and following Longwa's death in 2000 he bacame the band leader of the new Super Mazembe. Longwa's son Disco (Longwa Ngoie Kabanzi) and Kasongo's sons form the backbone of the group. Here tehy are reprising some of their hits :
Super Mazembe was one of the greatest bands of East Africa, and their music has been exported abroad, remixed and sold by Virgin Megastore and other sotres in the UK. Notably, they recorded an album Known as Kaivaska where they tried to fuse into a modern version, as well as release remixes of their best old hits.