Bongo Love

Event Details


“Bongo Love, from Zimbabwe, have been playing together since 2001. “Afrocoustics”, as they call their genre, is a fusion of guitar and traditional African acoustic instruments, the mbira (thumb piano from Zimbabwe), the marimba (Mozambique) the djembe/bongo (West Africa) and the congas. Bongo Love is a unique blend of Afrobeat fused with traditional Zimbabwean style music performed by musicians immersed in a globally influenced musical perspective. Their original songs and vibrant dances have captured audiences for nearly a decade making them one of Southern Africa’s most diverse bands. Since 2001, Bongo Love has risen fast in popularity. In March 2006 they won the national prize of the Music Crossroads Festival in Zimbabwe and were selected to participate in the Interregional Festival of Music Crossroads that took place in Maputo, Mozambique. Here they won the Ethno Music Prize. As a result, they were invited to perform in Sweden and the Dominican Republic, leading to their first major tour of the United States in 2007.
Since that time they have traveled extensively in the United States as well as several African countries playing on a variety of stages including festivals, camps, clubs, and private social functions.

The following is a list of performances over the last few years.

They performed at the Spanish Cultural Centre in Equatorial Guinea, West Africa, 2006.
They attended and performed at the 2006 African Caribbean Pacific Festival (ACP Festival) in Dominican Republic.
They played three sold-out shows in 2007 with Dispatch at Madison Square Gardens in New York City.
They opened for State Radio on their 2008 ʻTake the Country Backʼ tour.
They performed at the 2008 Chimanimani Festival in Zimbabwe.
They performed at the 2008 Manyika Music Festival in Mutare, Zimbabwe where they shared the stage with Oliver Mtukudzi.
They performed together with Thomas Mapfumo in Eugene, Oregon in 2008.
They shared the stage in 2009 with Ladysmith Black Mambazo at Davinci Days Festival in Corvallis, Oregon.
They played at the 2010 Zanzibar Film Festival.
They performed with Dispatch again in 2011 at the TD Gardens Arena in Boston.
The 2011 ʻSpeak Zim Loveʼ USA tour. They performed in several States on the east coast as well as Oregon and Washington.
2011, Participated in the Solid Sound Music Festival hosted by WILCO in MA
2011, opened for Vieux Farka Toure in Boston, USA.
2011, Ibumba Festival in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
2012, performed with the ‘Cool Crooners’ in Botswana.
 2008 Bongo Love tour (Bongo Love on CNN)
2007  Bongo Love plays with Dispatch in Madison Square Garden

Their story is far from finished… They have just released their 3rd album entitled ʻFuture Voicesʼ preceded by their debut album entitled ʻAfrocousticsʼ and their second album ʻRwendoʼ (Journey). They continue to widen their fan base around the world.

The band:

John Mambira was involved in many forms of art – acting, singing, dancing and playing music, before forming the band with his brother and friends.  He worked with various groups, both amateur and professional, and has taught workshops at many festivals.  As the band’s leader, he is a phenomenal drummer, marimba player and singer with a wide vocal range.  John heads up most of the arrangements and writes the lyrics to the group’s songs. 

Trymore Jombo started his music career spinning records.  He was known as ‘LT. Zorro’ by his childhood friends in Chitungwiza.  Unfulfilled by this path, he began studying mbira on his own and later trained to be a sound engineer.  This led him to John Mambira.  Both he and John were employed by Dumi Ngulube’s band at the time, and it didn’t take long for the two to see the potential they had together.  Trymore is also known as ‘Guchi’, meaning ‘sweeter than sugar’.  He provides the mbira lines as well as back-up vocals. 

James Buzuzi, the newest member of Bongo Love, is an accomplished jazz guitarist who has performed with many prominent Zimbabwean artists and bands.  He started his music career studying the bass guitar at The Zimbabwe College of Music in Harare in 1987.  He went on to teach himself lead guitar.  He has travelled to several African and European countries, recording and performing with various African musicians.  James plays guitar with much joy and he is known for exciting the audience and getting the whole crowd up and dancing. 

Mpho Mambira grew up playing his father’s drums with his brother, John Mambira.  He also experimented with dancing as a youngster which he still employs during performances  When John brought home a baritone marimba one day, Mpho excitedly started experimenting on it and never put down the mallets.  Like John, he has involved himself with many community music projects over the years and has made it his job to keep the band focused and on task.  He is the backbone of the band on his baritone marimba, which he plays with ease and confidence. “



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