The Okapi Guitar Band began in 1986 (as the Okapi AllStars Guitar Band). The founding members were Hardie Tucker (drums, percussion), John Laidler (guitar) and Bernhard Huber (guitar). Their first release in1988 was the 60 minute cassette Phonetic hits, and featured bass player Robert Iolini, lead vocalist Frances Paterson, and saxophonist Philip Mar. The same lineup produced a self-titled CD in 1991.

After the release of the CD, various changes in personnel saw the band through to 1993. By 1994, John and Bernhard had built a home studio, the RatShed, and in November they released the cassette Little things under the name Okapi Guitars.

After the release of Haram Homebrew in 2007, a new incarnation of the band began playing in Sydney. It includes Chris Bright on drumkit and Sigi Huber on bass guitar. In 2011 Paul Mbenna, well known in Tanzania as “Mr Paul”, joined the band as lead singer.

“In African music, a twenty-five year career is just the apprenticeship.”


Okapi Guitar Band Phonetic hits 88 [cassette, 1988]
Back in town
Shauri yako
Baba munini Francis
Nawashukuru wazazi wangu
Waka waka
Allah la’ke
Nakolela Cherie
Pulukwani Centre

Okapi Guitar Band Okapi Guitar Band [CD, 1991]

Mke wangu (O. Batty/M. Makassy) 6:03
Baba munini Francis (B. Tembo) 5:21
Nakei Nairobi (Rochereau) 5:56
Fingerpit jive (P. Mar) 2:50
Ahmed sabit (S. Mapangala) 9:25
Sarah (Rochereau) 9:39
Solo na Mutsai (J. Moyo) 4:24

Okapi Guitars Little things [cassette, 1994]

Money (J. Laidler) 6.45
From little things big things grow (K. Carmody/P. Kelly) 7:05
Living in Zimbabwe (J. Laidler) 5:45
The Twelfth Imam (B. Huber/Syli Authentique) 8:10

Okapi Guitars One bad man [cassette, 1995]

Tokoloshe (B. Huber/J. Laidler) 5:52
Kudura (Confess) (J. Laidler/B. Huber) 7:30
Mombasa (J. Laidler/B. Huber) 7:40
Pole Pole (W. & G. Kinyonga/J. Laidler/B. Huber) 9:43

Okapi Guitars ¡Salty banana! [cassette, 1996]

Kizungu (B. Huber/J. Laidler) 8:39
Vamos (a la huelga) (B. Huber/J. Laidler/trad.) 6:52
Sansa (J. Laidler/B. Huber) 8:23
Coumba (R. Gomis/arr. Hadi JT & J. Laidler) 8:03
Cakaro-synchro (J. Laidler/B. Huber/S. Ade/trad.) 8:34

“Excellent, African-pop music that combines a progressive sort of jazzy reggae/island pop with lots of shimmering guitars, clean melodies, dancing counterpoint and rock solid beats….Outstanding!” Bryan Baker, GAJOOB magazine #10

Kizungu is featured in the motion picture Dance Me To My Song (1998)

Okapi Guitars Choko Choko [CD, 1998]

D’Musi (B. Huber/J. Laidler) 4:54
Frogmouth (B. Huber/J. Laidler) 4:40
Cut Snake (J. Laidler/B. Huber) 3:19
Sundown Special (B. Huber/J. Laidler) 6:18
Salani (J. Laidler/B. Huber) 3:32
Much Much (Better) (J. Laidler/B. Huber) 4:44
Fast Driver (B. Huber/J. Laidler) 3:41
String Up the Tokoloshe (J. Laidler/B. Huber) 3:37
Dry Land (B. Huber/J. Laidler) 4:35

Okapi Guitars Señor Goat [CD, 1999]

Bad Wawatu (B. Huber/J. Laidler) 5:35
One on One (J. Laidler/B. Huber) 4:38
Desperate Sea (R. Langford; arr. Okapi Guitars) 5:46
Zanzibar (B. Huber/J. Laidler) 5:56
Hiari Yako (B. Huber/J. Laidler) 6:52
Jaliman (J. Laidler/B. Huber) 4:24
Blauer Stern (B. Huber/J. Laidler) 5:52
El Sof (J. Laidler/B. Huber) 5:50

Okapi Guitars Westie [CD, 2000]

Kick Me (B. Huber/J. Laidler) 7:37
Vigilante (J. Laidler/B. Huber) 6:31
Summon Your Soul (J. Laidler/B. Huber) 7:23
Cooee (B. Huber/J. Laidler) 5:45
Radio Mali (B. Huber/J. Laidler) 5:54
Blair (J. Laidler/B. Huber) 5:25
Sorry (B. Huber/J. Laidler) 5:36
Viajero (J. Laidler/B. Huber) 4:43

Okapi Guitars Blue Kigara [CD, 2002]

No Pasaran (B. Huber/J. Laidler) 5:12
Witness (J. Laidler/B. Huber) 5:31
Lukole FC (J. Laidler/B. Huber) 9:21
The Number (B. Huber/J. Laidler) 5:15
Sick (B. Huber/J. Laidler) 4:02
Hey, You People! (J. Laidler/B. Huber) 6:06
Vaquero (J. Laidler/B. Huber) 6:33
Make Mine the Same (J. Laidler/B. Huber) 5:18
Bosso Guitaro (J. Laidler/B. Huber) 8:07
Unwashed (B. Huber/J. Laidler) 5:03

Okapi Guitars Los Grandes Exitos del Conjunto Okapi [CD, 2003]

Vicioso/Vicious (L. Reed, arr. Okapi Guitars) 5:15
El Sof (J. Laidler/B. Huber) 6:00
No Logo Mambo (J. Laidler/B. Huber) 5:14
Vigilante (B. Huber/J. Laidler) 6:30
Mambo 422 (J. Laidler/B. Huber) 5:28
Vamos! (a la huelga) (B. Huber/J. Laidler) 6:53
Viajero (J. Laidler/B. Huber) 4:42

Okapi Guitars Radio free Zimbabwe [CD, 2004]

Fallen hero 5:34 Listen
Magdalena 4:54
Mhondoro  4:18
Lost birds 4:53
Comrade ngozi 4:32
My client 4:53
Whiteant 5:00
Known unknowns 3:59
No more secrets 6:21
Radio free Zimbabwe 5:01
All songs written by B.Huber/J. Laidler.

Okapi Guitars Haram Homebrew [CD, 2007]

Repent 5:36
Ohio (N.Young) 4:41
Tourist 6:23
English scar 6:25
From little things (P.Kelly/K.Carmody) 8:29
Theme from The Hornet of Osama 9:28
Monoculture 5:25
Three nations 4:51
Witness (Testimony 2007) 7:25
Saudi cadillac 6:33
Sleep 5:50
Except as noted, all songs by B.Huber/J. Laidler.

Okapi Guitars Live@CutSnake [CD, 2008]

Nakolela Cherie (Orch. Makassy) 4:31
N’Kanuwe (Bembeya Jazz) 7:10
From little things… (P.Kelly/K.Carmody) 5:44
Kambiri Kaenda (Thomas Mapfumo) 6:34
Samba (Orch Super Mazembe) 5:29
Money (Okapi Guitars) 5:38
Jeannot (Tchico) 8:22
Mombasa Special (Okapi Guitars) 5:38 Listen
Okapi Anthem (Okapi Guitars) 3:13
One of our live sets captured in the studio.

Okapi Guitar Band Plenty [CD, 2011]

Age of Plenty 7:49
Man in the Fluoro Vest 5:37 YouTube
Cut and Run 7:13
Boudot, Prince of Work 3:53
You’re Dreaming 11:07
Ghosts (Timor Leste) 4:44
Mambo Desempleado 6:52
Due to Depart 4:28
Dub of Plenty (headphone mix) 6:25
Holding On 5:40 Listen
Something Going On 5:27

All songs by B.Huber/J. Laidler.

Paul Mbenna and Okapi Guitar Band Swahili Boogaloo [CD, 2014]

Shauri Yako (Nguashi Ntimbo) 8:51
Dezo Dezo (Ndala Kasheba) 7:48
Bwana Nipe Pesa (Evans Obanda Mbinji) 4:06
Mama Rhoda (Okapi Guitar Band) 7:36
Nawashukuru Wazazi Wangu (Mlimani Park Orchestra) 7:15
Zuwena (Marijani Raajab) 9:17

Paul Mbenna and Okapi Guitar Band East of Zanzibar [CD, 2018]

Sina Makosa (Shabani) 8:30
Nakei Nairobi (Tabu Ley) 7:29
Homa Imenizidia (Balthazar/Bitchuka) 9:03
Arusi ya Mwanza (Remmy Ongala) 7:10
Sorry Bwana Magu (Paul Mbenna/OGB) 5:55
Todii (Oliver Mtukudzi) 6:42
I Want to Go Home (Remmy Ongala) 10:58
Mambo Bado (Assosa/Makassy) 6:05