Accomplished musician, composer and singer, Larry Maluma is a unique and enduring voice in both the Australian and Zambian music scenes. Born and bred in Zambia, he performed with a number of high profile bands there, and had just embarked on a solo career when he relocated to Australia in 1985. Without doubt, his career has been long and tough, having left Zambia just as he was about to reach star status and starting over again far from home.
Larry sings in English and his native languages, including Nyanja, Bemba and Tonga – adopting styles that he blends to create his unique brand of African Roots Reggae music. He records with some of the finest musicians in Australia, many of whom are regarded as Australia’s leading session musicians. Their individual and collective brilliance respectively assures a diverse sound that encompasses complex African rhythms, Roots reggae and luscious jazz funk horns. The resulting unique sound has put his songs at the top of the Zambian charts.
Larry’s 2009 album, Tusekelele (Let’s Celebrate) was hailed as one of the most impressive albums of the year and one of the most admirable albums to be associated with African music. To date, Maluma has released 12 albums and more than 15 music videos, which have aired on ABC TV’s, Rage, SBS, Channel 9 and many other TV and radio shows across Australia, including Triple J, 3RRR, PBS FM, RTR-FM, and in other countries, including Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
Since arriving in Australia, Larry has broadened the Australian perspective of African music. A recognised and popular music star in his native Zambia, where he was recognised with a Lifetime Achievement Award, Larry is a major contributor to the African roots and reggae scene in Australia. He has headlined festivals such as Apollo Bay Music Festival, Bellingen Global Carnival and the Globe to Globe World Music Festival. He was also a special guest for Jimmy Cliff, The Wailers and Angelique Kidjo, to name just a few.
In January 2004, Larry was asked by members of MMM International to assist with the Zambian project ‘The African Dream’, a project that assists underprivileged children in Zambia. He donated songs chosen from five of his albums, which were released on the compilation, Larry Maluma – A Good Cause, showcasing a range of songs sung in Bemba and Nyanja, two of Zambia’s 72 languages. Half of the proceeds from the sale of the CD were channeled into ‘The African Dream’.
‘Punzisani Aana (Teach the Children)’, a popular song taken from his 1993 album, Man & Woman, has been used in a couple of documentaries on children’s and adult’s blindness. In May 2020, ‘Punzisani Aana’ was reproduced and performed by young, high-profile Zambian artists and children to commemorate Africa Freedom Day. Two videos were released, supported by the European Union and highlighting the diversity and cultural richness of the African continent’s languages and humanity. ‘Punzisani Aana’ was chosen for its emphasis on the importance of educating the children and expressing love for Africa.
Larry’s albums include Confusion (1987), Hallelujah (1991), Man & Woman (1993), Motion (1996), Nuff is Enough (1997), Roots & Herbs (2000), Makani Angu (My Story) (2005), Tusekelele (Let’s Celebrate) (2009), Bakaindi (Ancestors) (2011), and Ndakondwa (I’m Happy) (2014). His 12th album, Ulemu (Respect): The Lost Zambian Tapes ’84–’85, is his debut recording, released internationally in 2015, over 30 years after it was first recorded in Zambia. Some of his songs recorded in the early ‘90s have also featured on compilation albums in the USA and UK.
In 2015, Larry Maluma was honoured with a Life Time Achievement Award from the Born N Bred Music Video Awards hosted by the Zambian National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC). Since then, he’s been quietly composing music for his new album, drawing inspiration from the joys and challenges life offers.
Larry has just released his latest EP, Bush Doctor / Traditional Healer, a sophisticated weave of sounds and genres that take his music to a whole new level … just a taste of more to come. He’s currently recording a new album.