Otis Lumumba


Otis Tabasenge, based in London, was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and picked up the guitar at the age of 8. He was taught by Gaby Diomi, a Congolese guitar master with an international reputation. Gaby was to become a father figure for Otis teaching him the traditional styles of Rumba and Soukous. Gaby Diomi tragically passed away when Otis was 19 but he remains a very strong influence. After playing in a gospel band for 2 years Otis got his big break when he joined ‘Wenge Musica (Maison Mere)’ and with them he began to tour worldwide. The tour took him throughout Africa and into Europe where he played to sell out stadium venues. After playing at ‘Zenith’ in Paris the group was nominated for two ‘Kora Awards’ for best African group, 2001 & 2002. In 2002 Otis settled in England where he continues to play with many Congolese bands Otis on stage including Kanda Bongo Man and Kasai Masai. Otis has always enjoyed teaching his style of guitar and is driven by the need to pass his technique on to others. Otis has also been fully trained to work with young people at different levels, from primary to secondary school. He is based in London and is available for guitar lessons for anyone with a desire to learn from beginner to advanced.

Private Lessons

Introduction to Soukous

My method is based around using the students own love and enthusiasm for music to fuel their learning, from beginners through to advanced level players. Students will work on songs they have always wanted to learn from Congolese rumba to Soukous style. This will lead to specific areas to work with, such as rhythm playing, theory, scale or just perfecting the songs and having fun playing them. Be Creative: For students who wish to move beyond the pure business of guitar playing there is a l...

Soukous Guitar Technique

Soukous is the popular music of Congo. Soukous comes from the French word secouer, which means to shake! Background The typical soukous chord progression is a variation on a basic I-IV-V progression, where the roman numerals refer to the chords built on the corresponding degree of the diatonic major scale. It is much simpler than it sounds. For instance, if we are playing a song in C, where C is the tonal center of the song, it means that the harmony of the song is built in the key of...

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