Samba Mapangala was born in Matadi in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo. He spent early 1970s with various bands in Kinshasa, before moving to Uganda in 1975 where he and some other Congolese musicians formed the Les Kinois band. They moved to Nairobi in 1977. He formed a new band, the Orchestra Virunga, in 1981. The band is named after Virunga volcano located in Congo.
Orchestra Virunga released their first album, It's Disco Time with Samba Mapangala in 1982. In early 90's the group gained some international popularity through album releases like "Virunga Volcano" and "Feet on Fire".
He has continued to record, and is still one of the leading musicians in East Africa. He is now based in the United States . Mapangala began performing with Occidental Brothers Dance Band International in the fall of 2009.
- It's Disco Time with Samba Mapangala (1982)
- Evasion (1983)
- Safari 1988 (Kenyan cassette)
- Vunja Mifupa 1989 (CBS Kenya IVA 071, cassette)
- Paris-Nairobi 1990 (European cassette)
- Virunga Volcano 1990 (Earthworks, CD)
- Feet On Fire 1991(Stern's Africa STCD 1036, CD)
- Karibu Kenya 1996 (Sun Music, CD)
- Vunja Mifupa 1997 (Lusam 01, CD)
- Ujumbe 2001 (Stern's / Earthworks STEW43CD)
- Vunja Mifupa Virunga Roots Volume 1 2004 (Samba Mapangala)
- Song and Dance (2006) (Virunga Records)
- African Classics (2008) (Sheer Sound)
- Contributing artist