Elenga Zacharie, better known as Jhimmy, was one of the founding fathers of modern Congolese music. Coming from what is now known as the Central African Republic, he came to Leopoldville to work as a shorthand typist with the Solbena trading firm of the Benatar brothers. When the Benatar brothers started the Opika record label, Jhimmy started his career as guitariste. His stage name was taken from American country legend Jimmy Rodgers.
His first hit was a track called "Ondruwe" which co-starred his Angolan friend Mwanga Paul, who also composed the track "Henriette" on the other side of the record. When others -like Kabasele, Goby, Déchaud and Taumani- came to the Opika label and became 'stars', Jhimmy faded into the background.
Here are four tracks recorded in April 1951. The group accompanying Jhimmy was called the Cuban Jazz orchestre. The main vocalist is Mwanga Paul.
I have added two tracks from 1952, of a slightly better quality, with some lovely plucking from Jhimmy and Mwanga Paul crooning away. My favorite is "Likambo Te", which I am told translates as "there is no problem"...... Very true.
Opika 431, 432 and 458 (new link March 4, 2010)
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