A search for quality instruments brought the Congolese band to East Africa.
Orchestre Baba Nationale moved to Kenya in 1975 after touring Congo and even settling in Tanzania for a while. Following the domination by members of the older generation in the band, a group of young and vibrant members pulled out and formed their own band in order to express a more youthful sound. This was the birth of Les Mangelepa on the first day of July 1976, the birth of an orchestra that prides in quality ageless music.
The band quickly gained popularity in Nairobi. In the same year of the Band’s formation Jack Gerchun, an Israelite restaurant owner being impressed by their stage frolics accepted the band to frequently perform at In the Park, his restaurant.
In the subsequent years they held performances at Garden Square, Alliance Club and also toured Kenya. However the band was never too keen to devote themselves fully to live performances and so they concentrated in practicing and recording music.
To date the band has recorded nine albums.
In the early years of its formation Les Mangelepa toured Africa, performing in Zambia, Malawi, and even in Zimbabwe alongside Oliver Mtukudzi.
1979, after Iddi Amin’s reign Les Mangelepa were called to perform at Lugogo Stadium to establish peace and tranquility among Ugandans but shortly into the performance, the crowd became chaotic disrupting the performance. Many people lost their lives in this incident.
Shindano ya Moto is their style, a distinct beat exploring the Congolese Rhumba, Cuban Salsa and Chakacha from Coastal Kenya. Being an Ochestra, Les Mangelepa is equipped with top vocalists, guitarists, Drummers, pianists and tenor & alto saxophonists. Having being around for over 30years, the band carries a taste of the past into the present while pressing on to appeal even in the future. Their most recent album, Golden Voices, is a 2CD release celebrating their 31st Anniversary.