Simaro Lutumba

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Simaro Lutumba
Birth nameSimaro Lutumba
Also known asSimaro Massiya Lutumba
Born (1938-03-19) 19 March 1938 (age 80)
Léopoldville, Belgian Congo (now Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo)
Occupation(s)composer, arranger, producer, guitarist
InstrumentsRhythm Guitar
Years active1960 - Current
Associated actsTPOK Jazz
Bana OK

Simaro Massiya Lutumba Ndomanueno (born 19 March 1938), popularly known as Simaro, is a soukous rhythm guitarist, songwriter and bandleader in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).[1] He was a member of the seminal soukous band TPOK Jazz which dominated the Congolese music scene from the 1960s through the 1980s.

Early life[edit]

Simaro was born in Léopoldville, Belgian Congo, now Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, on 19 March 1938.[1]

Music career with OK Jazz[edit]

According to Simaro, he joined Luambo Makiadi in 1961. Later Josky Kiambukuta joined them, and later still Ndombe Opetum came along. For a while, Youlou Mabiala and Madilu System played with OK Jazz, before they launched their own solo careers. For many years, Simaro served as the Vice President of the band and led the group during Franco's long trips to Europe during the 1980s. In 1974, he composed the band's hit song "Mabele" sung by Sam Mangwana, which earned him the nickname "Poet". In the late 1970s he was jailed at Makala Prison, along with Franco and other musicians, over two songs deemed obscene by the authorities. According to pundits, Lutumba is considered as one of the greatest poets, singers and philosophers that Congo music has ever produced.

Lutumba's songs, written and sung in Lingala, demonstrate a depth of thinking that only those who dabble with poetry, philosophy and psychoanalysis can be able to write. Lutumba probes the immaterial world of dreams and confronts it with the daily complexities of life; he raised the metaphysical questions of birth and death while warranting free spirited lifestyle; he exposes the meanders of love, its use and abuse by certain women as a ruse to have grip on men. Yet, in spite of all these surreal imageries and archetypical depictions, Simaro Lutumba remains a down-to-earth man with a very modest formal education background. Well, but for souls nobly born valor doesn’t await the passing of years.


Simaro is credited with composing many songs for the band, including:

Music career post OKJazz[edit]

Following the death of Franco in 1989, Simaro met with the family of the late band leader and agreed to split revenue 70% to 30% with the family. Simarro would take care of the musicians and the family would take care of the lawyers, record labels and other technical stakeholders. However, in 1993, OKJazz split up over disagreements in the way funds were being shared. In January 1994, Simaro formed Bana OK, with the majority of the musicians from OKJazz, about thirty of them.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Simaro". web home of the book Rumba on the River. Gary Stewart.
  2. ^ Banning Eyre (2002). "Interview: Lutumba Simaro, 2002". World Music Productions. Archived from the original on 2011-09-21.

External links[edit]