“This is a story about a band. A band that lived and flourished and then died its own natural death. At that point it should have disappeared from the pages of the history books for ever, and would have done so if an extraordinary miracle had not occurred and brought the Kamanga Kings back to life.”
Moving from Khartoum, Sudan, to Washington, D.C., and then across the US in a road trip unlike any other, this is a book about music, friendship and the desire for home
The Kamanga Kings, a Khartoum jazz band of yesteryear, is presented with the opportunity of a lifetime when a surprise letter arrives inviting them to perform in Washington, D.C. The only problem is … the band no longer exists.
Rushdy, a disaffected secondary school teacher and the son of an original Kamanga King, sets out to revive the band. All too soon an unlikely group are on their way, knowing the eyes of their country are on them. As they move from the familiarity of Khartoum to the chaos of Donald Trump’s America, Jamal Mahjoub weaves a gently humorous and ultimately universal tale of music, belonging and love.
“Engaging tale of an old Khartoum jazz band who reform to play a gig in America … Mahjoub weaves in interesting political and ethnic themes, amid some lovely writing about friendship and music”
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“A novel of regeneration through music and the secret hunger of quiet lives. It is an immersive, humorous and powerful novel from a truly great writer who deserves a very wide audience”
“A terrific work of fiction … Mahjoub moves his characters around one another and the events they’ve brought upon themselves with the command and finesse of a master storyteller who knows he has his audience enthralled … A truly humane story of love, hope, and faith. An exhilarating, profoundly moving, musical romp. I loved it”
“A rip-roaring adventure from Khartoum to Harlem and an ode to jazz, creativity and freedom of expression … a heartfelt and touching book”
Jamal Mahjoub is a British-Sudanese writer. Born in London, he was raised in Khartoum where his family remained until 1990. He has lived in a number of places, including the UK, Denmark, Spain and, currently, the Netherlands. His novels include Travelling with Djinns and The Drift Latitudes. Under the pseudonym Parker Bilal he is the author of the Inspector Makana crime series and, most recently, the Crane and Drake series. His latest non-fiction book, A Line in the River, was longlisted for the Ondaatje Prize.