Sunburst

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About Sunburst

Sunburst were a short-lived but admired Afro-rock band who formed in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania in 1970. The group's members were all born in different countries, and their music blended several African musical traditions with Western funk and rock influences. Their positive, empowering lyrics encouraged fighting for freedom, black pride, unity, and happiness. Sunburst were formed by Zairean guitarist Hembi Flory Kongo, along with drummer Johnny "Rocks" Fernandes, bassist Bashir Idi Farhan, and organ player/vocalis Kassim Magati. Zambian vocalist James Mpungo soon became the group's lead singer, and they began playing covers of James Brown and Santana, gradually developing their own style which they referred to as "Kitoto Sound." Their audience expanded when they played a live session on Radio Tanzania in 1973. They subsequently won the title of Best Band in a competition in Dar Es Salaam, and they recorded singles for the Kenyan label Moto Moto. After a few years of touring and lineup changes, they recorded their sole full-length, Ave Africa, in Lusaka, Zambia in 1976. A few singles on Tanzanian label TFC followed, but the group was barely making any money, and split soon after. In 2016, Strut released all of Sunburst's recorded output as Ave Africa: The Complete Recordings 1973-1976. ~ Paul Simpson

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