Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The unforgettable Bandits, pretty damn good!

Joffre Manricks, Percy Sequeira, Tony Peters, Jessel Manricks, Joey Peters

Warren Mcmahon guesting with the Bandits on Uganda TV
Percy Sequeira, bassist, the Bandits
Swiss Grill star Mateo Principe, Jessel Manricks, Joey Peters (the Bandits) and George De Souza

The Bandits: How it all started
Percy Siqueira, bassist: It all started when a bunch of guys namely Jessel, Joffre, Joe and myself started jamming with card box for drums and a string bass mounted on a box (the one string makeshift skiffle kind). Joe was the only one who played guitar before. Then Jessel’s father, Joe Manricks, decided there was something happening. So struggling to buy instruments we performed at the GI .We knew just a few songs. I remember one tequila (why one tequila?) Warren McMahon was the first singer we had. He was followed by Gilbert Lopez and Vincent Siqeueira who made Elvis’ Hound Dog an anthem because he started the started the song with a verse of Que Sera Sera … I asked my mother: What will I be? Here’s what she said to me (or words to that effect) … followed by “You ain’t nothing but a hound dog”. Brilliant. It won the Bandits their biggest competition at the Patel Club, Nairobi.
Vincent was already an established singer a long time before that. He was in Mogadishu for a few years singing at a night club. Then things fell into place and we played almost as professionals. We all were still in school.
I remember we played for the opening of what was to be one most iconic musical haunts in Nairobi … the Starlight Night Club. I think it was the Beatles that inspired me .I was almost kicked out of school but then they (teacher Jeanette Paes Fernandes) wanted to build a swimming pool so we asked to play to raise funds.
Vincent was a rebel and did things his way .He was a good dancer. I always wished I could do the moves he made… of course attracting all the girls. So that’s how it went in a nutshell.
Jessel Manricks: The two guitarists, Joey and Joff, worked together, more like Lennon & McCartney. They worked every hour of the day, listening, blending and, most of all loving it, with s small Tusker beer for inspiration!!!! Joff was really the main man behind the Bandits. He was a brilliant Rhythm guitarist with a magnificent ear for finding complicated cords he mastered very quickly. The two of them bonded well to give the Bandits that special sound. Added to that was Percy’s own unique style … Wow! I was mad about jazz from a very early age, 14-15, taping BBC world services jazz shows, listening, copying drummers like Joe Morello, Art Blakey, Buddy Rich, Brian Bennet, Ringo and many others. Night after night, until my dad, totally fed up, drags me to Shankardass, the major music store in Nairobi and placed an order for a Broadway drum kit, l was in heaven, but I had to wait a whole year for it to arrive. Then it was bliss.
I must also pay a special tribute to the great drummer and friend Leo Rodrigues, who very often lent me his Zildjian cymbals at a drop of a hat. He is a true great friend and drummer who gave me great encouragement…

Percy Sequeira: Of course, The Shadows (Cliff Richard backing band) who were unique in their style and presentation were the biggest influence on the Bandits. We modelled ourselves on them and it paid off big time.

Joffre Manricks
There is more to this story, I hope I can find someone who will tell!

Jessel Manricks

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  This invaluable collection of photos was sent to me by David Mungai. He says it is “for the acknowledgement of Kenyan History, the celebra...