Kaoma – French – Brazilian band, most famous for the international hit “Lambada” (1989).
The band Kaoma was established in France in 1989. It consists of artists from several Latin American countries. The band’s leader, producer, and keyboardist was Jean-Claude Bonaventure. The leading vocalist of the band was a Brazilian singer Loalwa Braz. You could call Kaoma a one-hit band. Even though they recorded three studio albums, the world knows them for the international hit single “Lambada”.
In 1989, the band signed a contract with a recording company Columbia Records and recorded the single “Lambada” in July. As it turned out, Kaoma plagiarized the song from the Bolivian band Los Kjarkas. The original song was called “Llorando se fue” (Left in Tears). Later, Los Kjarkas sued Kaoma and received a hefty sum of money. However, this incident didn’t affect the impressive popularity of the song. It was truly overwhelming.
“Lambada” earned platinum certificates in France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, and Sweden. It also received gold certification in Canada, Switzerland, and the UK. It conquered the charts in more than 10 countries, including France, Austria, and the UK. The song reached the 46th spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Thanks to the hit single “Lambada”, the band’s debut album Worldbeat, which was released in December 1989, was a bit hit. The LP earned one platinum and three gold certificates. More than 15 million copies were sold worldwide. The group was so popular that it was very tough to book Kaoma’s performance for any event.
In 1991, Kaoma released their second studio album Tribal – Pursuit. The third LP A La Media Noche came out in 1998. Both albums weren’t nearly as famous as Worldbeat. The band’s popularity was waning fast and they disbanded in 1998. However, eight years later they reunited. The group recorded a single “Lambada 3000”, which was rather popular and reached the 18th spot on the Netherlands Singles Chart.
In 2017, 63-year-old Loalwa Braz was found dead near her home in Rio de Janeiro. The band continues to perform regardless of the loss.