Out now, limited pressing 7" vinyl with full colour picture sleeve, TRS Records presents Larry Maluma with The Lost Zambian Tapes.
🇿🇲 Larry Maluma is an accomplished musician, composer and vocalist and sings a combination of English and his native languages, Nyanja, Bemba and Tonga, adopting styles which he has used to blend his own brand of Roots music. The resulting unique sound has put his singles at the top of the Zambian charts during the height of the Zamrock phenomenon.
Recorded at DB Studios and Multimedia Complex in Lusaka, the songs were recorded between in 1984-85, when Larry invited a few friends into the studio. His younger sister Trinity went with him just for fun and ended up singing the backing vocals on the tracks. Shortly after the recording, Maluma left for Australia in search of better opportunities.
“When I got to Australia, I was going to remix some of the stuff. I tried a bit, but I thought instead of messing around with the recordings from Zambia, we’ll go into some bigger studios and do something fresh. So I packed the tapes in a trunk and I forgot about it, basically until about a year or two ago, I don’t know what happened, something must have reminded me. I went to open the trunk, which was in the garage, and I found the tapes.”
“It was very interesting and I was very curious to hear what was on it. So I tried to look around for someone who had a reel-to-reel player. I didn’t find anyone, I looked around Australia. There was one guy who said the tape was too old, it had been laying for over 30 years, so it would probably wear out while playing it. It might not even play. so I was thinking, this guy who recorded the stuff in Zambia, he might still be around. Let me just make a call. so I did, I called this guy from DB Studios, Peter Msungilo. I called him and he answered the phone, I said, ‘have you go the the machine?’ He said, I've still got it, I haven’t used it in a long time but it still there and it works’. I said, ‘I’ve got this tape which you recorded, I’d like to have a listen to it. I’ll send it, please look after it for me because I’d really like to have it back, and digitize it for me.”
“I sent it to him and I told him to treat it with care, which he did. He said it might take a few weeks to treat it, because he had to store it in a certain room at a certain temperature. I don’t know what he does, maybe he put a bit of charm in there. But he got it playing, and after a couple of weeks he put it on a disc for me and sent it back to Australia. When I got it back I was very very happy… I decided I’d get a couple of old tracks, which no one has ever heard before - and the rest is history”.
‘Ulemu’ is in the Zambian language of Nyanja. It emphasises respect for people in different situations, and a warning that mocking others will one day backfire badly.