Amayenge Cultural Ensemble is a popular Zambian music group. Started by Chris Chali in 1978 in Choma, the band was originally called Crossbones, one of many Zambian acts that had spring up to do gigs based on Rock. Later the band became known as the New Crossbones, after a change in direction, sponsorship and amangement. The musical style of the group is called Kalindula, a distinctive Zambian popular style with traditional African roots. Chali died 30 May 2003, but the band has continued with Fraser Chilembo as their leader. Amayenge has received worldwide attention from WOMAD in London to Asia and the Americas. In the words of one author:
|“||Amayenge have dominated Zambia’s music scene for the almost two and half decades by embracing all the 73 tribes of Zambia and making the entire nation feel a part of their unique vibe. They are without a doubt, the most versatile and successful band in the history of Zambian music. ||”|
The band has continued to perform in Zambia and other southern African countries. Their membership has changed somewhat in recent years but news reports from the Times of Zambia, Zambian Post and Zambia Daily Mail routinely report their activities. A recent report is typical of news accounts of the band:
|“||...the ‘Never-fading’ Amayenge Asoza did not have to wait until the whole arena was filled with fans before they started unleashing their collection gathered over a period of 20 years. With such a record, no one could resist the Amayenge, led by Alice Chali, when the crew delivered a two by two circle dance.||”|
Kalindula is a Zambian musical style that was originally played on "banjos" (pronounced 'bahn-jos'), a 4-stringed bass (called 'mbabadoni' or 'kalindula'), [ngoma] drums, chisekele shakers and metal bells. Western guitars and percussion have replaced the homemade banjos and drum sets used previously
Current Band Members: Alice Chali (Dancer/Vocalist, Obert Chali (Vocalist/Dancer), Emmanuel Kayeji (Dancer/Vocalist), Bester Mudenda (Dancer/Vocalist), Jonathan Nthanga (Lead Guitar), Mathews Mulenga (Rhythm Guitar), Joseph Mwamba (Drums), Davy Muthali (Percussionist), Chabala Chitambo (Percussionist), Donald Njovu (Percussionist), Eddy Moto (Sound Engineer), Sam Chiluba (Bass)
Fraser Chilembo - Band Manager
In 1996, Amayenge traveled to Whidbey Island, WA, where they met up with Moye Kashimbi, who had left Zambia to marry US citizen, Vernon Huffman, who became Tour Director for Amayenge. The band was enthusiastically received by audiences across the Pacific Northwest.
- 1979. Ukuilondola. (meaning to introduce oneself). First single
- 1989. Amayenge. Amayenge. Brentford, Middlesex, England: Mondeca Records. LP recording
- 1991. Phone. Amayenge (Musical group). Amayenge. Ndola, Zambia: Teal Records. 1 sound cassette : analog.
- ____. Ichupo Ne n'ganda (marriage and a home).
- 2001. Amayenge, Part 1. Amayenge (Musical group). Lusaka, Zambia: Mondo Music Corp. Compact disc.
- 2004. Dailesit. - the last album recorded by Kris Chali before his death.
- 2005. Mangona Kulila ('The drums play')
- ____. Chipolopolo
- ____. Bangwele
- ____. Matenda
The band is also included on the following recordings:
- 1983, 2004. Zambush, Vol. 1 - Zambian hits from the '80s. Utrecht, the Netherlands: SWP Records. Compact disc.
- 1989. Zambiance. Compact disc.
- 2002. Sounds of Zambia, Volume 3. Lusaka, Zambia: Mondo Music Corp. Compact disc.
2007 - Brath Awards, Best Kalindula Band
2005 - Ngoma Awards Festival, Best Band award (6th time to receive this award)
1993 - Best Band of the year at the Zambia International Trade Fair Show
- June 29, 2001 - August 17, 2001 
- August 25, 2001 - November 23, 2001 - "Ngoma awards: Who grabs what?" 
- May 17, 2003 - December 19, 2003 
- August 20, 2004 - September 18, 2004 
- January 14, 2006 - February 17, 2006 
Zambia Daily Mail  Zambian Post: Thursday December 21, 2006  "Artistes converge at Mumana for Valentines" By Augustine Mukoka, Joseph Mwenda and Pictures Thomas Nsama Thursday February 22, 2007