national Arts Festival Banner

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


(Sakaki Mango & Limba Train Sound System)

The good tunes just keep on rolling at the Rainbow Restaurant in Pinetown. Coming up is a four gig tour of the city from Japanese trio Sakaki Mango and The Limba Train Sound System.

“So, we recently hosted electro-percussive band Napalma,” says Rainbow co-owner Neil Comfort. “Bandleader, Ivo Maia heads up Molwene Productions and pretty much as soon as he got back to Johannesburg from that concert, he contacted us asking whether we would be keen to host this Japanese band that goes under the name of Sakaki Mango and The Limba Train Sound System. Napalma had toured with them around Swaziland and Mozambique when they came out for the 2012 Bushfire Festival in Swaziland. One read of the biography and we were sold.”

Native of Kagoshima, Kyushu Island, southern Japan, Sakaki Mango found a record of Hukwe Ubi Zawose, the master of Tanzanian lamellaphones, at a local library. The deep, buzzing sound of the "limbas" irresistibly aroused his curiosity. After a stint at a local university, he set off for Africa with a language diploma in Swahili and a desire to learn more about this very African instrument.

The thumb piano, aka kalimba, is an instrument which tells stories. Sometimes made with a few nails flattened with a hammer, sometimes with more than 50 thick blades, carefully polished, result of hundreds of hours of work, sacred instrument or simple hobby for the rainy days. Shells, spiders’ nests, beer caps or pieces of can give to each instrument the originality of its designer, a very unique sound. Each mbira, limba, kalimba, LikembĂ© or Kisanji is linked to a region or even just a village, a people and its history and compose a rich and vibrant African heritage.

On returning to Japan he forged his own musical universe with the Limba Train Sound System. Its energetic melodies, tinted with sounds from Bagamoyo, Harare, Kinshasa or Lusaka, sung in a mixture of Swahili and Kyushu Island dialect are a powerful entanglement of musical traditions and modernisms overlapping and fitting together in a very original and creative Afro-Asian sound.

Opening the evening will be the Durban band The Accidentals with DJ Japanese Cowboy to provide links during the breaks.

Sakaki Mango and The Limba Train Sound System will perform on April 25 at the Rainbow Restaurant  Estd 1981 at 23 Stanfield Lane, Pinetown. Doors open at 20h00. Tickets R50 at the door or via

More information on 031 702 9161, 083 463 8044, or visit

Sakaki Mango will also perform at the KZNSA Gallery on April 26 at 18h00 (Tickets R40 booked through 031 201 9969); at Summerhill Guest Lodge, Cowies Hill, on April 27 (Freedom Day) at 15h00 (Tickets R50 booked through 031 709 3616), and at The Stables Market at Drumshack on April 28 at 18h00 (Tickets R40)