Stimela is a South African Afro-fusion band, founded during the 1970s by Ray Phiri, a self-taught guitarist. The band was formed when Phiri got together with drummer Isaac Mtshali, Thabo Lloyd Lelosa and Jabu Sibumbe, and they initially call themselves the Cannibals. The band started out as instrumentalists, but it later evolved to Afro-fusion when they joined forces with vocalist Jacob "Mparanyana" Radebe in 1975, continuing to work together for four years. The band kept going after Radebe died in 1978.
They changed their name to Stimela after a life-changing experience in Mozambique when they were stranded in Maputo for three months. They had to sell all their belongings to take a train home. This trip was a watershed moment as it was where they conceived the new name for the band: train is translated as Stimela in Nguni languages.
Besides the change in name, the band also expanded with new members Charlie "Sam" Ndlovu, Nana Coyote, Thapelo Kgomo and Ntokozo Zungu. With soulful tunes and gripping lyrics, the band has recorded platinum-winning albums such as Fire, Passion and Ecstasy, Listen, Look and Decide as well as the controversial People Don't Talk, So Let's Talk. One of their most memorable tracks - "Whispers in the Deep" - was restricted for broadcast by the old South African Broadcasting Corporation.
Ray Phiri - lead guitar, lead vocals (Raymond Chikapa Enock Phiri, 23 March 1947 – 12 July 2017)
Sam Ndlovu - Vocals
Isaac "Mnca" Mtshali - drummer
The late - Nana Coyote - lead vocals
Thapelo Kgomo - keyboards
Ntokozo Zungu - lead guitar
Bafana Khuzwayo - organ
1982: Fire, Passion and Ecstasy
1985: Shadows, Fear and Pain
1986: Look, Listen and Decide
1987: Unfinished Story
1983: Rewind (EP)
1985: Shadows Fear and Pain (EP)
1989: Trouble in the Land of Plenty
1995: Don't Ask Why
1995: Are You Ready (Live)
1987: The Unfinished Story
1996: Out of the Ashes
2000: Steam Tracks (Best of)
2001: Live At The Market Theatre - 1st Half (Live)
2002: The 2nd Half (Live)
2010: A Lifetime…
2011: turn on the sun
Raymond Chikapa Enock Phiri (23 March 1947 – 12 July 2017) was a South African jazz, fusion and mbaqanga musician born in Mpumalanga to Malawian immigrant worker and South African guitarist nicknamed "Just Now" Phiri. He became founding member of the Cannibals in the 1970s. When the Cannibals disbanded Ray founded Stimela, with whom he conceived gold and platinum-selling albums like Fire, Passion and Ecstacy (1991), Look, Listen and Decide (1992) as well as the controversial People Don't Talk So Let's Talk.