Mandingo started out as a six piece band,in the mid eighties,playing cover versions of European and American chart music,for tourists in hotels on both the north and south coast of Mombasa, Kenya.
They had extensive performances in Europe,Australia and some parts of Africa.Towards the end of the eighties, Mandingo was down to only three founder members. The other three had quit.
The brothers, Hans Tsuma Harrison, on drums and vocals, Zola Kasiwa Harrison, on bass guitar and vocals and their nephew, Giddy "TG" HARRISON on keyboards and vocals, recruited, relatives, Lee "Bakero" Harrison on congas and vocals, Louis Mulashani Harrison on bass guitar and vocals and Rixxie Matano Harrison on guitar, keyboards and vocals playing at the Severin Sea Lodge as resident band and Sunday afternoons at the popular Watersports club. Eventually, TG left the group and settled in Italy, Hans went to Germany and Zola settled in Switzerland.
In 1988, Mandingo, now under the leadership of Lee "Bakero" Harrison, moved their base to Nairobi with Mosses "Bola" Gandi on drums and vocals.
In Nairobi, under the management of TEDDY KALANDA HARRISON, Mandigo changed their name to BIG MATATA to give them selves a new image and start.
Big Matata were the resident band at the Utalii Hotel for a year or so.They also played at the Hilton Hotel, Jacaranda Hotel, The Pizza Garden. The Carnivore restaurant, Zanzebar Pub, La Papalocca and many other reputable establishments and venues in Kenya.
Big Matata was the most sought after backing band for the well established reggae musicians in Kenya, such as the late Poxxy Pressure, Ousman, The Mighty King Kong and Jahkey Marley.
In 2001, Big Matata landed a six months contract to play at the Howard Johnson Hotel, in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates. It was a very successful engagement.
Big Matata have also performed at the Busara Music Festival in Zanzibar, Kampala in Uganda, Djiboutie and Lecce in Italy. Their biggest break through though was in late 2001 when they backed the legendary Jamaican reggae mega star, Gregory Isaacs, on his first ever tour of Kenya.
Big Matata are now based in Athens Greece. The present line up is,
LIONESS WAKESHO on Alto sax and vocals.
TITO "ZANJE" HARRISON on drums and vocals.
LOUIS "LUGWE" HARRISON on bass guitar and vocals.
RIXXIE MATANO HARRISON on Keyboards and vocals.
LEE "BAKERO" HARRISON on tenor sax and vocals.
TEDDY KALANDA HARRISON on guitar and vocals.
In Athens, Big Matata took part in the MUSIC FROM AROUND THE WORLD CONCERT, which was held at plateia Komondourou. They curtain raised for the West African reggae star, ALPHA BLONDY, at the MAMA AFRICA Music festival at Ilion Park on 2nd September 2006. They also played at the TRIKALA music festival.
Big Matata are right now in the studio working on a single to be released soon in an effort to introduce them to Greece.