MATATU is a frequently used word to refer to the mode of public transport in the East Africa. “You miss one, you’ll catch the next one”…That is Banda Matatu.
Owing to the versatility and flexibility, the band incorporates afro caribbean grooves fusing afrobeat, chakacha and afroj azz among other styles which gives Banda Matatu its colour.
Max Ravanello from Italy, the trombonist and composer of Banda Matatu, and Mike Onyango, the trumpeter and singer from Kenya, met in Rotterdam music scene and have just recorded an EP which is due for release after the summer… MAKE SURE YOU BUY YOUR COPY
Two trombones, trumpet, harmonica electric guitar, bass guitar and drumset are the major set-up of the band. Banda Matatu comprises of members from different parts of the world that gives the band a multicultural blend.
- Mike Onyango – Lead singer/ Trumpets (Kenya)
- Max Ravanello – Trombone (Italy)
- Istvan Szogi – Trombone (Serbia/Hungary)
- Ricardo Silva – Harmonica (Portugal)
- Carlos Henrique – Electric Guitar (Mexico)
- Giuseppe Bordasco – Bass Giutar (Italy)
- Mathijs Mens – Drumset (Netherlands)
- Meet Mike “Jaluo” Onyango! Having traveled all the way from Kenya in a special flying Matatu he is one of the founders of the group. His first responsability was teaching Swahili to the rest of the crew before deciding he should be the lead singer and play trumpet sometimes. Although he speaks no word of it, some say he has around 50 wives in 35 countries around the globe…
- Meet Max Ravanello, “The Creator”, “The Instigator”, “The Originator”! Having put together all seven Matatus with the help of “Jaluo” himself, this is the man responsible for the biggest share of Banda Matatu’s musical journeys. Known for being a phenomenal trombonist, composer and arranger, his reputation is not so good amongst other italians, who usually complain not only about his pasta cooking skills but also of the fact that they are unable to understand him.
- Our very own István “East-Bound” Szögi, or just Shogui as we usually call him, is the furthest Eastern Connection of the Matatu line. Although he claims to be Hungarian, it is said that he is in fact a real gypsy, given away by what comes out of his trombone, thus making him one of the grooviest gypsies alive.
- To finish off our horn section we introduce none other than Ricky “Skanking” Silva. After leaving the valleys in the north of Portugal with one single harmonica in his pocket, he made his way up to the Low Lands where he met Jaluo and Max who invited him to hop on the Matatu after being amazed by his skanking skills. Probably due to the size of the instrument he carries, he is usually the first not only to arrive but also leave the gig but he prefers not to talk about it since according to him “men cannot be measured by the size of their horns”.
- Introducing our string man Carlos “Capo” Henderson. This man decided to travel all the way from the other side of the Atlantic to the North Sea with the sole purpose of exporting Mexican tradition and charm. Spending most of his time grooving along with Skanking, his time on his own is spent studying the possibilities of combining Mariachi with Stravinsky. Although he claims to have Italian blood, Italian members of the Matatu find it very hard to believe in since his italian consists of a very broken imitation taken from “La vita è bella”.
- Our little bass Giant Giuseppe “Lo Chef” Bordasco is a man of many talents. Besides proudly cooking the generally acclaimed best pasta in the whole group he keeps it all together with the tightest basslines and is in most cases the most sensible of the bunch. His diplomatic skills and experience have kept most of the guys out of trouble as it is thanks to him that Jaluo’s wives generally don’t meet each other.
- Last but surely not least we introduce our one and only drum machine Mathijs Mens! With a heavy background of 70’s funk beats and a swing feel that reminds us of some of the jazz greats, he was quick to get the Caribbean grooves and to develop them into something of his own, defining what became the sound of the Matatu! Although he believes otherwise, the whole crew knows that he is the one leaving all the plastic stroopwafel packs in the rehearsal room, as he is the only Dutch man in the band and therefore the only one capable of eating so many of them.