Nashil Pichen

Nashil Pichen Kazembe (1932-1991) was a Zambian singer from Luapula province (close to the Congolese (DRC) border) who became an African music star in the 1970s. He spent a long time in Nairobi, Kenya, where he collaborated with fellow Zambia emigre Peter 'Tsotsi' Juma who was from Mbala in Northern Province on the Zambia-Tanzania border and Benson Simbeye. As members of 'Eagles Lupopo Band' they sang 'patriotic songs' praising President Kenneth Kaunda and commenting on various social issues. Nashil Pichen ended his career as a solo artiste after returning from Kenya to Lusaka. His big hit 'A-Phiri Anabwera' was the first single to sell more than 50,000 units in Zambia. It was a song about Mr Phiri - a long lost migrant worker who returns home from the city empty handed only to find that no one in his village remembers him. Pichen had earlier scored a string of hits with his Super Mazembe band singing in Zambian, Congolese and Kenyan languages. Although he returned to Zambia in the 1980s and recorded a number of albums there, Kenya knows him more for his Nairobi hits. It was in Kenya that he developed his unique style of combining Zambian traditional music with Congolese, Kenyan and Southern African urban rhythms like rumba, soukous, benga music and kwela. He was also very popular in Zimbabwe.