Chisenga’s dream of reviving Oliya Band
Published On January 3, 2014 » 8076 Views» By Administrator Times » Columns, Entertainment
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Renowned Kalindula musician Fred Chisenga of the former Oliya Band, is one who has always kept his dreams alive and now plans to revive the once glamour outfit.

He may this time around, not be with his colleagues who have all passed on, but the new faces will soldier on to rekindle the flame of a band that sent shivers in the local Kalindula music arena.

Oliya and Chisenga are not new to Kalindula music, having come from a humble background when the then youthful band was called Young Shalawambe in 1980.

In a recent interview, Chisenga now in his late 50s said Oliya’s revival was because of latest developments in the Zambian music industry which has seen the introduction of holograms that curbs rampant piracy.

“You see, the introduction of holograms is what has driven me into reviving Oliya. Piracy really did us a big harm but thanks to the Government for this. We shall hit the road before the end of March this year,” Chisenga says.

During the time the band was under and the subsequent loss of almost all the members, Chisenga kept on composing new songs which can fit at least four albums.

Oliya has to its credit four albums, but Chisenga says songs in those albums were not as hot as the latest ones, because he has now matured into a powerful composer.

Having started his music at a tender age in Luanshya’s Mikomfwa Township in the early 1970s, Chisenga grew up well exposed to big bands like the Tinkles, Great Witch, Peace and Five Revolutions among those heavy Zamrock bands of yester-year.

For the sake of exposure, Chisenga interacted a lot with bands such as, Sound Inspectors, then based in Luanshya and Shalawambe who performed at Masamba Bar in Mikomfwa.

Moblising colleagues, was not a problem but to own instruments was quite a challenge to the blossoming band.

“I mobilised a few guys to perform with me but we did not have instruments and that was a big challenge to us. This is why we hanged around bands like Sound Inspectors and Shalawambe,” Chisenga explained.

Because they spent a lot of time with Dolenzy Kabwe’s Shalawambe, they called themselves the Young Shalawambe and could perform each time the senior band took a break.

In 1988, the band broke off from the main outfit and proceeded to form the famous Oliya with Chisenga taking charge of the lead guitar,

The band also assisted in putting together Shalawambe’s maiden album Samora which had songs like Ba Mulemena, a tribute to the fallen folk maestro Emmanuel Mulemena and Samora, another tribute to the late Mozambican President Samora Machel who died in a plane crush while returning from a front line heads of states meeting in Zambia.

The other song which brought some controversy between the two groups is Mulamu, previously titled Oliya, an own composition by Chisenga.

Oliya had Chisenga on lead guitar and vocals, Jack Mbewe (keyboard), Davis Mbulo (rhythm) Gilbert Mali and Davies Mulenga alternating on drums and Jack Tiza Mwanza taking care of the bass guitar.

The band’s recording deal with Teal Record Company saw the release of its first single, Clementina flip sided by Reg (Registration Card) and these songs exposed them well to the local fans.

The following year in 1989, the band recorded Pantanda Pa Shupa, which had among other songs, Ba Njoni Ba Labila and Chenda Mu Ndeke.

The band was a marvel to watch as in the same year when it took part in the Copperbelt Agriculture and Commercial Show, relegated the experienced Shalawambe to third place after scooping the second position topped by Mashabe.

Oliya released another album, Sodom and Gomorrah and the third one was Roda, which had songs like Ane Nikula, Aliyo wele and Life Yamana.

Ichipasho, was probably the band’s fourth and last album after which the group took a back stage especially that almost all the members passed on as time went on.

“I have recruited new guys like Mabvuto Banda on bass, Patrick Manda on rhythm and Webber Mabumba who will take charge of drums. I will be on lead guitar while we are looking for someone to play Keyboard,” Chisenga revealed.

Chisenga said he had numerous songs which can fit more than four albums and come March this year, the new look Oliya will go into the recording studio to announce its come back.

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