With their 13th album, Out of the Ashes, released on Armistice Day, November 11, 1996, South Africa's most commercially successful band, Stimela, celebrated their return to their homeland after a lengthy period of self-exile. The album continued in the vein of its predecessors, which achieved either gold, double gold, or platinum status. According to South African music zine, Amuzine, "this is clearly one South African band who have battled their way through the dark days to take their rightful place in the forefront of the South African music invasion." The original four members of Stimela -- Ray Phiri on guitar, Jabs on bass, Isaac on drums, and Lloyd on keyboards -- initially performed together in the popular 1970s group the Cannibals. In addition to recording on their own, the group supplied instrumental accompaniment on albums by a lengthy list of artists including Irene Mawela and the Mahotella Queens. They joined forces with vocalist Jacob Mparanyana Radabe in 1975, continuing to work together for four years. Renamed Stimela in 1982, the band was expanded with the addition of two more keyboardists -- Charlie and Thapelo -- and lead vocalist Atokozo. ~ Craig Harris, Rovi

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