Sunday, July 22, 2018

The Little Orphan of Jos



Together with Barmani Ma Coge and Alhaji Maman Shata, Dan Maraya Jos was a leading exemplar of the traditional music of the Hausa people of northern Nigeria.

Alhaji Adamu Wayya (his nickname "Dan Maraya Jos" means "the little orphan of Jos") was born in Bukuru, a suburb of Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria in 1946. As both of his parents died when he was young, he was adopted by the Sarkin Hausawa, or Emir, of Bukuru, for whom his father was a court musician. It was under the tutelege of the Emir that Adamu Wayya made the acquaintence of local musicians, traveling and becoming a master of the kuntigi, the Hausa one-string lute. His Wikipedia entry states:

The kuntigi is a small, single-stringed lute. The body is usually a large, oval-shaped sardine can covered with goatskin. Dan Maraya and other kuntigi players are solo performers who accompany themselves with a rapid ostinato on the kuntigi. During instrumental interludes they repeat a fixed pattern for the song they are playing, but while singing, they will often change the notes of the pattern to parallel the melody they are singing. 
Like most professional musicians, the mainstay of Dan Maraya's repertoire is praise singing, but Dan Maraya singles out his personal heroes rather than the rich and famous. His first, and perhaps still his most famous song is "Wak'ar Karen Mota" ("Song of the Driver's Mate") in praise of the young men who get passengers in and out of minivan buses and do the dirty work of changing tires, pushing broken down vans, and the like. During the Nigerian Civil War, he composed numerous songs in praise of soldiers of the federal army and incorporated vivid accounts of scenes from the war in his songs. 
Dan Maraya's music promoted family and social values as well as national unity. He campaigned for polio vaccination and was politically active as well, performing on behalf of President Goodluck Jonathan's People's Democratic Party in the 2015 elections. He passed away June 20, 2015 in Jos. On the occasion, his good friend Ladan Salihu, Director General of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, declared:

Inaa Lillaahi Wa Innaa ilaihir raaji’un. One of Nigeria’s foremost Hausa musicians, poet, philosopher and philanthropist, Dr Adamu Danmaraya Jos has answered Allah’s call about an hour ago. He died in Jos after a protracted illness. When I visited him two weeks ago, he spoke passionately about the Unity of the North and of one Nigeria. We shared many moments. He was to me a brother and a friend. I am devastated. But I am proud he lived a very useful life, transforming society through music and silently through Islamic endeavours. May Allah grant him Aljannatul Firdaus. Jos was a poet and griot, and his music was often laced with philosophy and drama.
Here's a musical offering from this immortal poet, the 1986 LP Kudi Masu Gida Rana (Polydor POLP 151). I'm unable to tell you anything about the songs or their lyrics. I hope you'll enjoy it.







Download Kudi Masu Gida Rana as a zipped file here.


Update: Many thanks to Richard Graham for bringing this to my attention:



Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The Controversial Sounds of "Burger Highlife"



The genre known as "Burger Highlife" originated among Ghanaian musicians living in Germany in the early '80s. Lauded and excoriated in equal measure, it has had considerable influence on Ghanaian popular music to this day.

How to characterize this controversial style? In the May 26, 1986 issue of West Africa magazine, Nii Laryea Korley wrote:

The past few years have seen the release of a spate of highlife recordings by Ghanaian musicians based abroad. A major and common characteristic of these recordings is the strong infusion of funk rhythms and the utilisation of a plethora of modern electronic gadgets. A number of these musicians, including George Darko, Kantata, Rex Gyamfi, Allan Cosmos Adu and Charles Amoah, are based in West Germany and this had led to the music being labeled "Burgher" highlife. In Ghana a "Burgher" refers to one who has lived in West Germany for a while. 
It is difficult to define what is "correct" highlife because the music has over the years been open to new approaches and innovations although usually in a certain context. One can safely say, however, that be it the palmwine bar style of Kwa Mensah and Kaikaku or the big band treatment of Uhuru and Ramblers, the music has always posessed that loose, free-flowing and lilting quality that always makes it easily identifiable. 
Local acts like Sweet Talks, Pat Thomas, C. K. Mann and Precious Jewels, especially in the 1970s, flirted with the strict, constant beat mainly associated with American funk music, but even there the highlife feel dominated, and it was abundantly clear what line they were toeing. George Darko's 1983 release "Akoo Te Brofo" had the trappings of a highlife tune but leaned much more towards funk and that became the real trailblazer. Musicians who have recorded material in the highlife-funk vein, apart from the ones mentioned earlier, include Dan Davies, Andy Vans, Asafo and Julius Antwi. 
Describing his own approach to the music, George Darko said: "As a guitarist trying to fuse highlife with other styles I think it is necessary for me to utilize the indigenous 'Yaa Amposah'style of picking the strings because if the keyboard is doing strictly jazz or funk, the guitar cannot tread the same path. The drums and the bass can be made to play anything but the guitar and the vocals must always bring out the highlife feel".... 
....In an interview on Radio Ghana, Kwabena Fosu-Mensah, a music journalist based in Britain commented: "I feel that they (the Burgher highlife exponents) are more popular here in Ghana for various reasons. One of the reasons is that I think the whites, especially in UK, want authentic African music that is properly recorded. Wheras here [in Ghana] it seems that people are going for George Darko-style, Rex Gyamfi-style and so on." 
Some amount of adverse criticism has been aired around the "Burgher" highlife trend. Producer Mohammed Malcolm Ben said: "It is only our fascination with American funk music that makes us think that we have to make highlife sound like funk to make it sell abroad...If we encourage the trend of highllfe music that is going on now, I mean the fusion with the funk rhythms, there would soon come a time when the original highlife as handed down over the years would be dead and that would be very, very unfortunate." 
Another producer, Faisal Helwani told the Mirror newspaper that "some of  them play straight funk, add Akan lyrics and call it highlife ... Our radio stations are not encouraging traditional highlife anymore. Everyday, all one hears is this kind of 'Burgher' highlife." 
Paa Kwesi Brew, a disk-jockey on GBC-2, reacted to Faisal's comments by saying: "As DJs we play tunes, both old and new, to liven up the station. We can't play only the old approaches to highlife and leave the modern ones. Highlife has many branches. The root is there but there are many branches to make up the canopy." 
The "Burgher" highlife is a trend that is still developing. A number of the exponents currently sound alike but this is likely to change as the style gradually becomes more clearly defined and consolidated. It may bloom and it may wither, but for the moment it is here, and to turn deaf ears to it would be like strangling a newborn, healthy baby.
Today's featured artist, George Darko, as mentioned in the above article, was a pioneer of Burger Highlife who was quite popular in the 1980s. Ending up in West Germany like so many other Ghanaians as the result of an economic crisis at home, he set out to make a new sound that combined the music of his homeland with modern studio technology. John Duke wrote in the March 14, 1988 issue of West Africa:

... George Darko says he is a jazz fanatic at heart but he also has a great love of highlife. His dream is to see highlife develop and achieve universal status as reggae has done. He feels it needs to be packaged in such a way that it becomes acceptable to the European market. He realises that roots highlife itself, tends to be too heavy for those who are not thoroughly conversant with African music. Even Africans sometimes get bored with the monotony of the rhythms although the music can be infinitely beautiful. 
The compromise was to find a middle ground for Europeans - giving them the kind of music they are familiar with and at the same time introduce them to the originality and the scope of highlife. Afro-fusion, as Darko calls it, was the result ...
Darko scored big with the song "Akoo te Brofo" from his first LP, Friends (Okoman DA 1) in 1982. His followup, 1983's Hi-Life Time (Okoman DA 2), was even bigger, propelling him to the world stage and sparking denunciations from purists. Elizabeth Sobo, a columnist for the US music magazine The Beat, flatly declared it "not highlife," and other reviewers sniffed at its synth-driven, modern ambiance.

Time was when I would have numbered myself among the detractors, but my views have moderated. There's no arguing with success, and the Burger Highlife sound has proven itself not only in Europe, the region of its birth, but among Ghanaians in Ghana itself. When you really get down to it, African music shouldn't be defined by some set of strict criteria - it's just music by Africans, for Africans. Afro-funk, Afro-disco, Afro-fusion - it's all good! And othodox highlife or not, there's no denying that Hi-Life Time, featured here, is awfully catchy. Thirty years after the first time I heard it, the title track is an ear-worm that I haven't been able to get out of my head!





Download Hi-Life Time as a zipped file here. Over the years I've written several posts featuring Burger Higlife, which you can access here. A future post will highlight the group Kantata, featuring the vocals of Lee Doudou, who sings lead on Hi-Life Time. And who knows, I might have another one from George Darko also.


Monday, July 9, 2018

Yéplé Jazz!



From the little I've been able to find out about him, Abel Yéplé of Ivory Coast has had a long career. I suspect he may have passed away recently. I don't know enough about Ivorian music to situate his sound within the panapoly of musical styles there: Ziglibithy, Polihet, Zoblazo, Zouglou and so forth. Judging by today's offering - 1992's Adji Aka (EMI NH0013) he borrows a little bit from all of them. Whatever you want to call it, it's fine, fine music!







Download Adji Aka as a zipped file here.


Sunday, July 1, 2018

The Dynamic Duo of Ghana Highlife



The two stalwarts of Ghana highlife, Pat Thomas and Ebo Taylor, have both been experiencing career revivals lately, thanks to new recordings and reissues of old material. As a team - with Taylor as guitarist and arranger, and Thomas contributing his golden voice - they've been together on and off for more than fifty years. I've written about Pat Thomas and posted his music before. Ebo Taylor has recorded with all manner of Ghanaian musicians as well as being a session musician for the very influential Essiebons label.

Today's offering, Oye Odo (Dannytone 002, 1984), recorded in Ghana and mastered in the Netherlands, showcases these two giants at their peak. Enjoy!





Download Oye Odo as a zipped file here.


Sunday, June 24, 2018

More Military Sounds from Kenya



Kenya's Maroon Commandos have been featured here on Likembe a couple of times. In March I posted their LP Mwakarabishwa na Maroon and more than ten years ago a great 45 by them, "Liloba."

The Maroons are the offficial band of the 7th Kenya Rifles of the Kenyan Army, based in Langata Barracks, Nairobi, and were led for many years by Habel Kifoto. Composing and singing lead on many of their biggest hits, including "Liloba," was bassist Laban Ochuka, who at some point hived off and formed his own band, Ulinzi Orchestra, who give us today's musical offering, 1991's Sina Uwezo (Polydor POLP 610). From the very sketchy info I've been able to dig up on the internet, Ulinzi also have some affiliation with the Kenyan military. Google Translate (not always dependable, I know) renders "ulinzi" as "protection." Maybe it could be "defense?" So if the group is army-related, that would make sense.

Ulinzi in this album go for a more forward-facing, disco-inflected sound than the Maroons. I don't know about any other recordings by them, but they seemed to be extant for a number of years after Sina Uwezo and may still exist. Ochuka left the band in 2003 to sing gospel music, but returned in 2005. Sadly, he passed away in 2006 and was laid to rest at his home in Bunyore, western Kenya.




Download Sina Uwezo as a zipped file here.


Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Ancestral Voices of Dade Krama



With their politically-charged version of traditional Ghanaian sounds, Dade Krama were a sensation in Britain back in the mid-1980s. Kofi Hagan Jr. describes a typical performance in the June 23, 1986 issue of West Africa magazine:

The sensational quintet, Dade Krama are storming Britain's major cities with their soothing, sometimes cheering or even inciting, yet elusive ancestral music of Africa. At the time I caught up with them on their travelling programme, they had already enlivened London, Leicester, Leeds and Birmingham. I decided to find out what their fans in Manchester had been missing. 
...Dade Krama were ready like the artistic warriors they are to take on the old industrial city... "Enua num na adofo (brothers, sisters and fans)...Dade Krama." The group promptly launched into an Asafo war song, "Ena ena-aa, ena ena, aboa bi seo-o djata bi seo-oo..." - an order for the thumping charge of Atumpan, Atsemevu, Prempensua and other percussive instruments all in martialled formations. The music finished in a screech... 
...Word got around that the great big-band highlife maestrro, E.T. Mensah was in the audience (he is in Britain for a medical check up). The next song had to be dedicated to him: "Wo se gye shun noni ete- noni eba-ye" - "we've come from afar, what has gone, what has come we endure." The song was so heavy-handedly nostalgic that it made one want to reach out for a steaming meal of kenkey, a giant hairy-legged land crab steamed to a red-brick colour with hot Kpakpo shitor (pepper). A bottle of real unadulterated akpetechie would have been great!
 By now the audience had unravelled into a crowd. Whistles, catcalls and general uproar drowned the handclaps. In the intermission the group was assaulted with goodwill... 
I spoke to Nana Tsiboe and Dada Lamptey: what strategy did the group have in getting across the ancestral music of Africa, considering that Western audiences may find the instruments, lyrics of music strange? "We believe, and to some extent have found out that only by the use of a creative format on the basis of a traditional platform can our music develop. For a long time African musical instruments, for instance, developed without the interruption of Western instruments. With regards to the lyrics, our songs could not be sung in English - the feelings come across with minimal translation. 
"...People hesitate to appreciate the proper context within which our music is realized. I can only comment on what we are doing in the sense that we try as much as possible to project our African culture so that it is appreciated in a proper perspective. We are now more than a music group, we are a way of life. Our music fits into our way of life - it is a lifelong thing. It demands, we are aware, a very delicate kind of exposure, care, thought and presentation." 
What is Dade Krama's position on blacks here in Britain and elsewhere in the West? "It is essential for every black to know he or she is black. We try to advance this basic consideration through the medium of our music -  that is total glorification of our own musical culture." 
In the light of existing arguments here in Britain for a sound basis for Black Arts heightened by Kwesi Owusu's book on this, The Struggle for Black Arts in Britain (Comedia; 1986, ₤14.95) what contribution is Dade Krama making? "We've worked a lot within the struggle for Black Arts here. We have participated in concerts, workshops, etc, to popularise Black Arts. But we are only making our art. It is the system that creates the struggle. We can appreciate the fact that African people must have arts in this country but nothing will be given to you without a fight...
"...There are African people fighting and infiltrating on other levels - we can help by producing .a very bigh level of our art and linking up. It is like a call to all black people to say, hey look this is what you are made up of!" 
Will the group continue to be im England? "No, presently England needs to be used to popularize our music. It is also important to make our music audible. We have to rely on the technology of this part of the world.
All members of Dade Krama have backgrounds in Western music or have used Western instruments. When was the break? "It is the instruments that broke us - we can't rely on electric current to make music for our audience. It is only efficient musicians who can play African music. In getting together, we all had the same interest and decided to share our instruments communally. " 
You make your own instruments? "We make some of the instruments like Gonje, Brekete and Gai. We attempt to repair our damaged instruments and in the long run make them ourselves." 
How is the group's debut record faring? "The'LP is three weeks old. We would say it has sold to a fair percentage of' our audience at performances. Also response in the form of write ups, and radio interviews has been great." 
Dade Krama comprises: Nii Noi Nortey - former saxophonist and flautist with Misty in Roots and African Dawn; Nana Tsiboe - formerly with Jazz Africa, High Tension and the Afro-Rock group Ojah (which he led); Dada Lamptey - a filmmaker/graphic designer (he designed the sleeve of Dade Krama's new album), who played with Watusi and Eneaben V; and Kweku Gabrah, who worked with the highlife group. Carousel 7 and has since been a sought-after session percussionist. Afari Aboagye, a professional agricultural economist, administer them.
When the lights of our ancestors dimmed, the crowd called for more. Afari routinely pleaded with them to come back. They did, but not with instruments: they formed a circle and with sleight of hand clapped a tune from our youth: Sasakroma (the hawk) out of each other's hands in the ecstatic manner of a group that had had a truly successful evening. 
Brilliant! 
Dade Krama's uncompromising approach to their music was admirable at a time when many African musicians felt the need to "cross over" - water down their art in hopes of commercial success. Probably for that reason their following was somewhat limited. Discogs lists only two releases by them - Ancestral Dance (Round Music ROCD 9601), which came out in 1996, and their debut, the one we're going to hear today, 1986's Ancestral Music of Africa (Akoben AK1). Descriptions of the songs are taken from the above-cited article by Kofi Hagan Jr.

Dade Krama - Tete Nantye

"...Using the Mbira (hand piano), Gonje, rattles, etc., Dade Krama performed 'Mutani N'Africa' - a Hausa tune and 'Magana Chiki' in a medley..."

Dade Krama - Mutani N'Africa / Magana Chiki / Aninwula Dagbon

Dade Krama - Inkululeko / Ye Azania

"...'Touba,' a mobilizing arrangement employing the use of Atenteben (flutes) and percussive instruments in an increasingly rapid rendition of a Northern Ghana tune..."

Dade Krama - Touba

"...'Brothers, sisters and fans, two years ago Reagan invaded Grenada and stifled the revolution. A few weeks ago he dropped bombs on Libya with the assistance of Thatcher. Two days ago with the knowledge of Reagan and Thatcher South Africa invaded Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe...We dedicate this song to all freedom fighters.' Wild cheers of approval from the audience. The song, 'Alkebu Lan,' - the original name of Africa, started with a bee-like droning sound from a pipe horn. Then the solitary whine of the Algaita - the instrument snakecharmers use, reared its lethal head and gave a lightning strike at the real cradle of State Terrorism. The recurrent sombre thums of the Brekete and Fomfomfron drums merely beat a warning to weakened hearts..."

Dade Krama - Alkebu-Lan

Dade Krama - Kronkohinkoo

Dade Krama - Adowa

Dade Krama - Wo See Dze Shonn

Dade Krama - Anukuo Nsele


Download Ancestral Music of Africa as a zipped file here. A few words on the inscription "Direct Metal Mastering" that appears on the sleeve. This technology appeared in the waning years of the analog era, probably in competition with digital recordings, which were then appearing on the market. I'm generally unconvinced that analog recordings are superior to digital (at least these days; a lot of the early CDs did sound awful!), but this record makes a good case! I was struck by its remarkable clarity while digitizing this disc. Something to look for if you're really into vinyl records! For more information on the process check out this Wikipedia article.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Wanyika's Back!



I promised this one a while back, and here it is! Tanzanian/Kenyan superstars Les Wanyika give us another scinitillating slice of Swahili Rumba, 1989's Nimaru (Polydor POLP 598). Nothing much to say about this one, so I'll let the music speak for itself. Enjoy!

Les Wanyika - Nimaru

Les Wanyika - Mama Watoto

Les Wanyika - Mumu Wangu Waniteza

Les Wanyika - Shemeji Agnes

Download Nimaru as a zipped file here.


Monday, June 4, 2018

One More from "One Man Thousand"



Ghanaian highlife superstar Alex Konadu, or "One Man Thousand," was the subject of a previous post here on Likembe, and the indefatigable Moos over at Global Groove has a wealth of recordings by him. Sadly, since our last visit with him Mr. Konadu passed away on January 18, 2011. A Ghanaian website had this to say about him:

....Alex Konadu was born in 1950 at Adwumakase Kese in the Kwabere No.3 District of Ashanti. Konadu started singing at an early age, and became the leader of the Kantamanto Bosco Group before moving on to the band of the well-known Kwabena Akwaboah. He honed his artistic skills there after three years moved to the Happy Brothers Band. 
After two years Kwabena went 'solo' for some time, composing and practicing until he invited Mr. A.K.Brobbey -record dealer and producer- to listen to his rehearsals and he got signed and Brobbey organised a band. With their new, very uptempo guitar Highlife they had instant succes. 
His ability to draw crowds wherever he went gave Konadu the appellation "One Man Thousand." Withstanding the vicissitudes of fame and fashion, and staying true to his vision of pure, unadulterated highlife music, he became an inspiration to Ghanaian musicians for years. While Konadu issued many wonderful recordings over the decades, Asaase Asa is still considered one of his most noteworthy achievements. 
The 1976 album Asaase Asa (Brobisco KBL 016) was a breakthrough hit for Alex Konadu, establishing him as Ghana's foremost exponent of "roots highlife." The title song was based on a true story about Mr. Asaase Asa, who lost both his wife and sister when they were killed by a falling tree. It is dedicated to all who have lost their loved ones. Alex Konadu carved a special name for himself dedicating most of his songs in praise of the dead and his music is a must-play at any Ghanaian funerary.....
Today I present an Alex Konadu record that I haven't seen on any of the other African music sites, recorded during a Canadian sojourn - 1992's Da Bi Wo Behunu (BlackSounds RTLP 003). This is classic Konadu - Ghana highlife stripped down to its propulsive, infectious essentials. Enjoy!

Alex Konadu - Da Bi Na Wo Behunu

Alex Konadu - Agya Ata Wuo Part II

Alex Konadu - Pa Pa No No

Alex Konadu - Yen Anya Aba Na Yen Ko Ye Mu

Download Da Bi Wo Behunu as a zipped file here.


Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Advance Kusugar! Zimbabwe Hits Vol. 3



We conclude our overview of DiscAfrique's Zimbabwe Hits compilations with Volume 3 of the series - Advance Kusugar! (DiscAfrique AFRI LP 006, 1988). Some of the biggest names of late '80s Zimbabwe music are here, and some lesser-known talents as well.

Jonah Moyo founded Devera Ngwena ("Follow the Crocodile") in 1979 to entertain the workers at Mashaba Asbestos Mine, which became their sponsor. Their combination of Congolese rumba and indigenous sounds immediately became a sensation, the group waxing numerous singles like "Solo na Mutsai," "Taxi Driver" and many others, including this offering, "Karekita"."What's your problem? Love can't be bought. It floats like the wind."


Explorations of the mbira, or thumb piano, by Master Chivero, about whom I've not been able to find anything. "Get on your bike and go after the sweet one. Marry her and do not lose her."


R.U.N.N. Family was made up of members of the Muparutsa family. The song is a tribute to the then-recently-departed President of Mozambique, who died in a plane crash under suspicious circumstances, probably the work of South Africa. He is compared to other African freedom fighters: "Someone keeps stirring and heating the pot. [Herbert] Chipeto, [Steve] Biko and now Samora Machel. They kill our friends. We can only pray to God and remember the inheritance of Samora Machel. Our life is the struggle."


Here are the Jairos Jiri Band, whom we remember from Take Cover!, the first volume of Zimbabwe Hits. "Chiedza is so beautiful. Her face is like a snake's egg. The sun is rising and she is my morning. I love her and will marry her."


More friends from Take Cover! "Business in town. 'Father, my business has failed. I do not want to steal. I will join the service economy. The gift of business, alas, I did not have it." 


"Nehanda, the grandmother of the ZANU people prophesied that one day they would rule themselves in a happy and free Zimbabwe."


"Ndicheni" is possibly in the Chewa language, and might be about a woman who abandons her children to go drinking in town.


"Mother, father, welcome your son. I have killed a buck and a kudu." 


"I love you more when you are happy." 


"Speak! Talk! Say what you have to say. The disadvantages of polygamy. How many women can you offer the sun and moon? How many wedding dresses will you spin from the flowers and trees? Will they believe you and how do you expect to be treated? Hell hath no fury like a woman spurned." 


"Friend, the beer hall or the church? Choose your road. Remember that to drink is a sin against God." 


Download Advance Kusugar! as a zipped file here. Researching this post I found the book Roots Rocking in Zimbabwe by Fred Zindi (Mambo Press, Harare, 1985) very helpful. Descriptions of the songs were provided by the liner notes of Advance Kusugar!.


Thursday, May 24, 2018

Goodbye Sandra: Zimbabwe Hits Vol. 2



We continue our exploration of the rockin'sounds of '80s-era Zimbabwe with Goodbye Sandra, the second volume of the Zimbabwe Hits series (DiscAfrique AFRILP 05, 1988). In contrast to the first outing in the series, this one features only four artists, but they're all great. Let's go!

We remember John Kazadi from Volume One of Zimbabwe Hits - Take Cover! John was originally from Lubumbashi, Congo, and here covers the lovely song "Le Bucheron" by the Congolese singer Franklin Boukaka. "Evoking the ancestors and those who died for liberation. It's time to enjoy the fruits of freedom and rejoice.":


Many reading this need no introduction to Oliver Mutukudzi. Apart from Thomas Mapfumo, he's probably the best-known Zimbabwean musician in the world, and no wonder - his deep, soulful voice is unparalleled. "Nzara" recounts the hunger and suffering during a drought:


During the Zimbabwe War of Liberation musician Simon Chimbetu fled into exile in Tanzania, where he joined the Zimbabwe African National Union and entertained its troops in exile. Shortly after Independence he joined with his brother Naison to form the Marxist Brothers. The brothers split in 1988, Simon forming the Dendera Kings and Naison forming the Gee 7 Commandos. In "Goodbye Sandra" the singer is bidding adieu to his foreign girlfriend and returning home to Zimbabwe:


The Sungura Boys were the band of John Chibadura (John Nyamukoko). Chibadura was born in 1957. Orphaned at an early age and forced to abandon his schooling, he worked a number of menial jobs before distinguishing himself on the guitar and founding the Holy Brothers with his friend Shepherd Chinyani. After a number of personnel and name changes the group became the Sungura Boys. At some point (either 1983 or 1985) John left to form his own band, the Tembo Brothers. Sadly, John Chibadura died in 1999. "Soweto" is "a song about suffering, pain, hardship and death in the struggle for freedom":


"Love is blind. If only it could stay that way."


"Africa" is "about the liberation of all Africa as the struggle for decolonization continues":


"A disease that has killed the singer's sister and uncle now afflicts his grandmother. Leaving the city to join her, his train breaks down":


"Tungamira" is about a young friend "who dies without a chance to say goodbye. He is asked to lead the way to heaven (or peace)." I will be posting more music by Oliver Mutukuzi on Likembe in the future: 


A sarcastic song about Abel Muzorewa's hapless "Zimbabwe/Rhodesia" regime, which held sway for only a few months before Independence in 1980. "How can a country possess two names?" I will be posting more music by John Chibadura on Likembe in the future: 


A dub version of the opening tune:


Download Goodbye Sandra as a zipped file here. Researching this post I found the book Roots Rocking in Zimbabwe by Fred Zindi (Mambo Press, Harare, 1985) very helpful. Descriptions of the songs were provided by the liner notes of Goodbye Sandra.