As a follow-up to the last post, here is another ukumbusho (souvenir) from another great exponent of Muziki wa Dansi, Tanzania's International Orchestra Safari Sound.
IOSS was formed in 1985 when businessman Hugo Kisima dissolved his group the Orchestra Safari Sound, and recruited six members of Mlimani Park Orchestra to form a new orchestra. IOSS & Mlimani were considered the two top rivals for leadership of the Tanzanian music scene for a time but for some reason Kisima dissolved IOSS in the early '90s. Confusingly, at one point Ndala Kasheba briefly revived the "old" Orchestra Safari Sound, and there may have been two factions of the International Orchestra Safari Sound, the IOSS (Ndekule) and IOSS (Duku Duku).
Shukrani kwa Mjomba (Ahadi/Flatim MSCAS 513) is credited to the International Orchestra Safari Sound (Ndekule), and as usual with Ahadi/Flatim releases provides no recording information other than a track-listing. As "Chatu Mkali" on the cassette inexplicably cuts off in the middle of the song, I've used the version from the CD Musiki wa Dansi: Afropop Hits from Tanzania (Africassette AC 9403, 1995), which is still in print and available here. Enjoy!
International Orchestra Safari Sound - Shukrani Kwa Mjomba
International Orchestra Safari Sound - Shida
International Orchestra Safari Sound - Pendo
International Orchestra Safari Sound - Majuto
International Orchestra Safari Sound - Kaka Kinyongoli
International Orchestra Safari Sound - Chatu Mkali
Download Shukrani Kwa Mjomba as a zipped file here. More IOSS here. The batik at the top of this post is taken from this website.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
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!