Lutumba Ndomanueno, Simon
- Jeremy Rich
was born in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (then Belgian Congo). Little is available about his early years. After completing secondary school, Lutumba became a clerk at the European-owned SEDEC company. Like so many Kinshasa youth in the 1950s, he became a fan of rumba music. According to one account, Lutumba participated in a Zebola spirit initiation ritual practiced by some Kikongo-speaking people. During the ceremony, he met an older guitarist, Raymond Kalonji, and decided to learn how to play his instrument. In 1958 Lutumba joined Kalonji’s Micra Jazz band. A year later Lutumba joined the Congo Jazz band of Gérard Madiata and began his long career as a songwriter. Lutumba’s first recorded composition was “Simarocca” on the Esengo music label.
His next two songs, “Muana Etike” and “Lisolo ya Ndaku,” both sold well, but his big break came in 1961 Franco Luambo Makiadi needed ...