What better to liven up a slow Thursday morning than another dose of Muziki wa Dansi, courtesy of Tanzania's DDC Milmani Park Orchestra? The usual caveats apply to this Flatim Records/Ahadi cassette of Sitokubali Kuwa Mtumwa (AHD(MC)6024): Red hot music, lo-fi sound. Enjoy!
DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra - Sitokubali Kuwa Mtumwa
DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra - Ukali wa Nyuki
DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra - Safia
DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra - Naomi
DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra - Epuka Jambo Lisilokuhusu No. 2
DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra - Naomba Tuaminiane
Download Sitokubali Kuwa Mtumwa as a zipped file here. More Mlimani songs are available as streaming audio here.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Monday, June 11, 2012
The subject of many musical accolades over the years, South African liberation fighter (and President from 1994-99) Nelson Mandela receives his due in this cassette (Ahadi/Flatim MSKCAS 512) by Tanzania's immortal DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra. It was released around 1994 but I suspect the material was recorded a few years earlier in the Radio Tanzania studios.
I don't have much to say about this one save that it combines the usual sweet vocals, expert finger-picking and red-hot horns of classic Muziki wa Dansi with the poor recording quality that is the hallmark of most of these Flatim Records releases, usually made from second- and third-generation dubs of the original masters. I am pleased to announce, however (and thanks to Zim Bida for making me aware of it) that a project is underway to digitize and preserve for posterity more than 100,000 hours of recordings like this in the Radio Tanzania archives. You can go to the website of the Tanzania Heritage Project here, listen to some recordings here, and pledge your financial support here. Plans are to release a compilation CD and make a documentary film of the project.
Enjoy Nelson Mandela!
DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra - Nelson Mandela
DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra - Tumetoka Mbali
DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra - Utamaduni
DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra - Kauli Yako Nimeisikia
DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra - Maneno Maneno Ya Nini
DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra - Kupenda Sio Ndoto
Download Nelson Mandela as a zipped file here.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Ronnie Graham's The World of African Music (Pluto Press/Research Associates, 1992) states that Tanzania's DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra recorded several albums and singles in the early '80s under the name "The Black Warriors." Doug Paterson told me a few years ago, though, that The Black Warriors were actually a subgroup of Mlimani who recorded in Nairobi without permission from bandleader Michael Enoch. For this transgression they were expelled from the group, only to return later.
Whatever the true story, in the early '90s Flatim Records in Nairobi compiled six Black Warriors 45s into a compilation cassette, Tunazikumbuka Vol. 20 (AHD [MC] 038), which I present here. This cassette is compiled from vinyl pressings rather than the original source tapes, and Flatim cassettes are well-known for their dodgy technical standards. The quality of the musical performances shines through nonetheless, and I'm sure you'll enjoy hearing alternate versions of some Mlimani classics.
The Black Warriors - Nawashukuru Wazazi Wangu Pts. 1 & 2
The Black Warriors - Zimbabwe Pts. 1 & 2
The Black Warriors - Bubu Ataka Kusama Pts. 1 & 2
The Black Warriors - Nalala Kwa Tabu Pts. 1 & 2
The Black Warriors - Najuta Pts. 1 & 2
The Black Warriors - Uzuri wa Mtu Sio Sura Pts. 1 & 2
Download Tunazikumbuka Vol. 20 as a zipped file here. The artwork at the top of this post is by Tanzanian artist Mwamedi Chiwaya, and is in a style called Tingatinga. It is taken from this website.
Saturday, March 8, 2008
In the last week I've been afflicted not only by writer's block but by a mild yet persistent case of the flu. So let's make a virtue of necessity - less talk, more music! Here's another helping of Muziki wa Dansi from Tanzania, one of the more popular entrees on the Likembe menu. Let's kick-start things with a classic 45 by the reigning kings of the big-band Swahili sound, DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra. This is AHD 02 in the Ahadi catalog, released in 1983:
DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra - Matatizo ya Nyumbani Pts. 1 & 2
Here's another great track from the excellent 1986 collection Best of DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra Vol. 1 (Ahadi ADHLP 6002):
DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra - Clara
I'm not sure if Orchestra Vijana Jazz is still on the scene, but it was formed in 1971 and has undergone numerous personnel changes over the years, suffering a major loss in 1990 with the death of its leader Hemed Maneti. Here's a rollicking 45 from 1983, Ahadi catalog number AHD 03:
Orchestra Vijana Jazz - Mama Njiti Pts. 1 & 2
Now we have this 45 from 1983 or '84 (Ahadi AHD 04), credited to Ndala Kasheba ("Freddie Supreme") and Orchestra Safari Sound (Dar). Werner Graebner writes that the OSS was dissolved in 1985 by its owner, businessman Hugo Kiisima, who then set up the International Orchestra Safari Sound, led by Muhiddin Maalim Gurumo and Abel Balthazar. So, did Kasheba keep the "old" OSS going? The release Tanzania Hit Parade '88 (Ahadi AHDLP 6005, 1988) lists two IOSS bands, subtitled "Duku Duku" and "Ndekule." Mysterious and mysteriouser:
Orchestra Safari Sound (Dar) - Dunia Msongamano Pts. 1 & 2
Here's the song that, as I've written earlier, launched my love affair with Swahili music: Remmy Ongala's ethereal "Mariamu" (Polydor POL 554, 1983). In my opinion it's superior to the version that appeared on 1989's Songs for the Poor Man (RealWorld 91315-2), with these heartfelt lyrics: "Love burns like a fire . . . I cry for the wrong that I have done. Pity me, there is nothing I think of more than you. I am thin like a coconut palm, for the love of you. At night I dream, the whole day I can't eat. My heart is boiling, my body and blood dried-up. With the love that's burning within me. My Mariamu, my lover, you come today, you go today. I am suffering in my heart, and you are my heart":
Remmy Ongala & Orchestra Super Matimila - Mariamu Pts. 1 & 2
Finally, here's a group that I'm not actually sure is from Tanzania. Orchestra Super Sound, led by Kalala Mbwebwe, could very well be Kenyan. Their sound is closer to the sort of pop confections that were popular in the Nairobi music scene ca. the mid-'80s. But since this 45 was released on the Ken-Tanza label (KT (C) 055, to be specific), which as far as I know, released Tanzanian artists exclusively, I'll assume they're from that country. Enjoy!
Orchestra Super Sound - Fantaar Pts. 1 & 2
The picture at the top of this post is "Drummer Girl" (2006) by Tanzanian artist Maurus Michael Malikita. Efforts to get in touch with Mr. Malikita by email to ask his permission to reproduce were unsuccessful, so I took the liberty. I apologize to Mr. Malikita for this, and if he would like me to remove it, he can get in touch with me via the comments or write me here: beadlejp (at) yahoo (dot) com. You can view some of Mr. Malikita's work at the above link (or click on the picture). Please drop in, and consider buying one of his paintings.
At the end of this week I'll be heading out East to do the college-tour thing with my daughter. We'll probably meet up with a couple of fellow African music fans that I've been in touch with, and I'm hoping to check out some African restaurants. Chances are I won't have access to a computer, so this will probably be my last post for awhile. If your musical cravings become too unbearable, please check in with some of the fine purveyors over in the left-hand sidebar. Ciao!
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Note: This post was updated on September 20, 2008 to incorporate a translation of the song "Marashi ya Pemba" by reader/listener Xodi.
Judging from the feedback I've gotten on the last couple of Tanzanian posts it seems that people just can't get enough of the classic Muziki wa Dansi sound - massed horns, a subtle yet propulsive beat, vocals to make you cry - and who can blame them? I present to you, then, four of the bands that made it happen in Dar es Salaam back in the '80s: Mlimani Park, Vijana Jazz, Maquis Original, and two versions of the International Orchestra Safari Sound (Duku Duku and Ndekule), from the LP Tanzania Hit Parade '88 (Ahadi AHDLP 6005, 1988).
Like those Mlimani Park tracks I posted a couple of weeks ago, this is a Doug Paterson production, and Doug has a great background article on the artists by Werner Graebner over on his site. Enjoy!
Vijana Jazz Orchestra - Mundinde
Maquis Original - Clara
Reader/listener Xodi writes: "Marashi ya Pemba - this brings back lots of memories - my translation is probably not the best nor is it quite complete but I think it conveys the essence of the song:
at dawn the sea breeze hit meInternational Orchestra Safari Sound (Duku Duku) - Marashi ya Pemba
i saw the star in the east
to live on an island mama has its own sweetness
mafia pemba zanzibar - our islands
the day I get to pemba
the wife of the sultan shall organize
that I get to explore all its sections - till the last
the perfume of Pemba
I will not be left behind - I will get on a plane to Pemba
I hear it is very nice (there)
that in the evening there is a seabreeze/light wind
that it smells strongly of cloves
International Orchestra Safari Sound (Ndekule) - Christina Moshi
Vijana Jazz Orchestra - Chaurembo
DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra - Hasira
Update: You know what would be really nice? If someone who knows Swahili could fill us in on what the lyrics are all about. C'mon! I know you're out there!
Thursday, September 13, 2007
With our laptop out of commission for a while, the household is down to one functional computer, which the kids have commandeered for their own uses. I've been working on several posts at once, but I just haven't had time to rip some of the tunes I've wanted to use. Fortunately, I have a fair number already digitized. So this will be a quickie, but a goodie.
Like just about everybody, I love the Tanzanian band DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra, led by Michael Enoch (above). We were very fortunate indeed when a wonderful "Best of" compilation of their hits was released some time ago (Sikinde [Africassette AC9402] in the U.S.). I believe it may still be in print. One CD, however, just isn't enough to embrace all of the "best" of this prolific congregation. Fortunately, I have in my posession the two-volume Best of DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra issued in Kenya and produced by our friend Doug Paterson of the East African Music Page.
So, here are five tunes from those LPs. "Mume Wangu Jerry" and "M. V. Mapenzi 1" are from Best of DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra Vol. 1 (Ahadi AHDLP 6002, 1986). The other songs are from Best of DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra Vol. 2 (Ahadi AHDLP 6006, 1988).
DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra - Mume Wangu Jerry
DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra - M. V. Mapenzi 1
DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra - Matatizo ya Uke Wenza
DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra - Majirani Huzima Radio
DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra - Naheshimu Ndoa
Discography of DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra