Saturday, March 8, 2008

Pamba Moto, Sikinde, Duku Duku & More

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!


aduna said...

Great Selection! Perfect for a Parisian rainy sunday...

kabuga said...

Nice selection. Wish we could have more of TZ rumba - uda,bimaley,marjan,vijana jazz......nostalgia!

Doug said...

I don't know Orchestra Super Sound but it sounds like Mose se Sengo Fan Fan is playing guitar. Also the reference to Chou Chou may be the Congolese vocalist who was the high voice with Issa Juma and Super Wanyika. I'd love to know more about this group if anyone can fill me in.

zim said...

doug, there's a little bit about fantaar here:

John, so what gets listened to on the drive out east?

John B. said...


Right now I'm listening to some pirated CDs that I bought from a Senegalese store in NYC: Viviane Ndour, Awadi & thione Seck.

Anonymous said...

You asked about thoughts on the diatribe by Alastair Johnston.

Worrying about weather World musicians are getting their fair share of money in this case is completely missing the point. If they get enough exposure, they will receive their blessings. Obviously if someone has copy written material on a blog, they are running the risk of confrontation. But releasing out of print information that may never be heard otherwise, from an artist that may never be heard otherwise...

I just thank you for the time you have put in. The "Colonial Mentality" argument is a foregone conclusion. That entire debate starts to get very murky very quickly. Almost all of the art that we love today is a result of the jacked up ways that humans deal with eachother.

How does it go?...

"Don't hate the player, hate the game"..


dalston shopper said...

fantastic blog!! So amazing music. You're the only one really posting lots of the stuff that I love. I'm posting a bunch of similar stuff right now from my trip to Tanzania in January.



Kaka Trio said...

Kalala Mbwembwe was I think a DRC Congolese musian based in Tanzania, he might as stayed in Kenya for a while. He was with band like Tuncut Almas of Iringa with Kasaloo Kyanga and Kyanga Songa. I think since late 80's he consistently lived in Tanzania until he passed away to meet his Maker not too long ago

Kazi Nzuri "mzee" Joni

karachuonyo said...


I have in eon years looked for the original Fantaar by the late Kalala Mbwembwe in vain. You can imagine my elation at finding it here. Reminds me of the great days in Karchuonyo Kenya-the beautiful girls, Kendu Bay show etc. God bless you. You are also probably aware of for nearly all the great lingala hits of the same period and before.

Anonymous said...

Would love to hear these as well, Could you do the honours of posting them.
Remmy Ongala - Narudi Nyumbani
DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra - Neema

Juegos de Ben 10 said...

You're the only one really posting lots of the stuff that I love.

Juegos de Mario Bros said...

Love to hear these as well.