Saturday, August 20, 2016


The Taarab music icon BI Shakila, who died suddenly yesterday, will be buried today at 4 pm in Mbagala Charambe. The burial will take place at the cemetery near Uwanja wa Ninja.
To get to the funeral, one must take a bus and drop at Mbagala Rangi Tatu, and connect to buses going to Nzasa, and drop at Mnara wa Vodacom. Where it is easy to be directed to Bi Shakila's house.


Shakila Tatu Said Msengi one of the icons of Taarab music is no more. Shakila suddenly fell down and lost consiousness, she was rushed to a hospital near her home in Mbagala Charambe, but she lost her lifeIMG_1035

  Bi Shakila was the only child of her parents. She was born on 14th June 1947, the same date as another musician Mabruk Khamis who is also known as Babu Njenje of Kilimanjaro Band. Actually they were born in the same town Pangani, and as Mabruk's mother had problem giving out milk, Mabruk began his life sharing the same breast with Shakila. Shakila started singing when she was 6, one day when she was 12 she was selected to sing for Julius Kambarage Nyerere, when he visited Pangani during the campaigns for Independence. It was after this show that she was heard by Bwana Khatibu who was impressed by her voice and requested that she joined the local Taarab group in Pangani,  Taarab Kijamvi. The group then immigrated to Tanga, she followed Khatib who married her and they ended up having 5 children. In Tanga they together joined another group called Shaabab Al Watan, but she did not get a chance to sing freely in this group so she and her husband moved on to another group that was owned by Mzee Kiroboto which was called Young Novelty. She greatly improved her singing techniques in this group, but there was no payment for musicians, the group scattered after more than half the musicians joined Black Star Taarab Group which was owned by an Arab, Hassan Awadh who worked at the Tanga port. Here Shakila sang hits like  Jongoo Acha Makuu, Mpenzi Amini, Majuto Yamenipata. She became famous throughout East Africa, in 1972 another rich Arab businessman bought new music equipment and launched the Lucky Star Taarab Group, Shakila and nine of other musicians left Black Star and joined Lucky Star. At the time Shakila was pregnant and she named the child who was born Lucky. And it was in this group tha Shakila reached the peak of her fame.Songs that she sang then are still popular today; Mapenzi Yamepungua, Kifo cha Mahaba. Macho Yanacheka. Bi Shakila continued performing with this group until the death of her husband in 1984. When she gave herself a pause in her music performances until later she joined tha National Service taarab group until her retirement from the national Service group, but he continued performing until her death today

May her soul rest in Peace. AMEN

Friday, August 19, 2016


Young Marijani
On 3rd March 1955 in Kariakoo a child was born and given the name Marijani. The child’s mother was a housewife and the father Mzee Rajabu worked at a printing press. The child was brought up in a strict Muslim upbringing, but grew up to love music, he later said his favourite singers were Tabu Ley and Sory Kandia Kouyate . His primary school education went side by side with religious learning from a Madras. A fellow student remembers Marijani giving religious lessons to his fellow students during the primary school days. In 1970 at the age of 15 he became a member of STC Jazz Band, a band owned by a semi government organization. The band, which was formerly known as The Jets, was under the leadership of Raphael Sabuni. While with this band Marijani got his first tour outside Tanzania when the band went to Nairobi to record several songs under the Philips label. As he was a student soon there was trouble as he was spending too much time travelling and the band had to let him go to escape court action, this was more complicated as the Band was owned by a respected parastatal organization. STC stood for State Trading Corporation. In 1972 Marijani teamed up with the Safari Trippers, which was being led by David Mussa. It was in this band that the East African music scene came to hear the powerful voice of Marijani Rajabu. The band had one hit after another and Marijani Rajabu and Safari Trippers became a household name. David Musa once said the bands hits Mkuki Moyoni and Rosa Nenda Shule sold more tha 10,000 copies. It was in this band that Marijani also began playing the guitar. In the song Olillah, he sang and played the rhythm guitar. In 1976, Marijani and a big chunk of Safari Trippers members left the band and formed a new group, the Dar es Salaam International Orchestra. The band was owned by Zakaria Ndabameye, brought together some of the best musicians at the time. It had big names like Abel Baltazar, Kassimu Mponda , Abdallah Gama, Joseph Mulenga, Haruna Lwali, George Kessy Omojo, Said Mohamed , Cosmas Chidumule, Belesa Kakere, Joseph Bernard, Ali Rajabu and King Michael Enock. The band ruled the Tanzanian airwaves for years. There was a time Marijani was suspended from the Band, but he returned later after a big group of musicians left the band to form Mlimani Park Orchestra sometimes in 1978. Marijani brought life back to the band by getting together with new musicians, Christopher Kasongo, Mohamed Tungwa, Mafumu Bilal, Hamis Milambo, Athuman Momba, Mzee Alex Kanyimbo and many others and came up with a new style which he named ‘Super Bomboka’. Marijani developed a new talent of picking budding musicians and training them. One of his greatest picks was Fresh Jumbe whom he picked from Tanga in 1983, Fresh Jumbe now resides in Japan continuing with music there, some other musicians who owe their existence to Marijani include the late Tino Masinge, Mohamed mwinykondo, Juma Choka to name a few. Marijani recorded hundreds of songs but the song Mwanameka was one of his greatest hit, which he recorded with Radio Tanzania Dar es Salaam and he said he was paid only 2500/- but his songs was later released by Polygram of Kenya without his consent and he never made a cent out of the sales.228 In 1987 Dar International Orchestra collapsed, mostly because dilapidated equipment. Marijani moved to Arusha for a period and joined Kurugenzi Jazz Band there and later shifted to Mwenge Jazz Band, which is owned by the Tanzanian army. In the same year Marijani and Muhidin Maalim Gurumo led a group of more than 50 musicians who had formed a group called Tanzania All Stars and recorded songs to commemorate 10 years of the Tanzania ruling party(CCM) and 20 years of Arusha Declaration. Many people believe that to date no group has ever come up with the high standards of the songs. In 1994 Marijani made a recording with another great vocalist Eddy Sheggy, but the songs never got anywhere near the fame of his past works. Marijani’s last band was Africulture, where the music was in a style that they named ‘Mahepe Ngoma ya Wajanja’, the band was owned by a local business man Rogers Malila.  
VIDEO Marijani on Stage with his last band, singing and plucking the lead guitar 
 Marijani died on 23rd March 1995 and was buried the next day, but 20 years on, his name is still common even among the youngsters who were born after he died, his songs still touch people’s hearts and even young generation musicians like Lady Jd have gone on to re record Marijani’s songs.
May He Rest In Peace Amen

Thursday, August 18, 2016


It is nearly 17 years since the death of Mwalimu Nyerere, the first president of Tanzania. A lot is being discussed in the streets, in the media about life during Mwalimu’s era, there is a lot of truth moving side by side with a lot of lies about the era. Some lies are perpetuated for a reason and some are just information being passed on that came from a person who lived during that time but might have forgotten the truth, some simply are fabrications from a good story teller. Music information is one area that is a victim of such misinformation. I came across a ‘research’ by an American professor that claims all the bands during Mwalimu’s era were state sponsored, and the artist lived a life of semi luxury, being guaranteed even health insurance. I wondered where that fellow got such information. But people who read the ‘research’ believe that’s the truth. The Prof went on to say that, Tanzanian love ‘zilipendwa music’ (oldies) because the songs remind them of that period when life was ‘good’ as socialism provided them with every need in their daily life. Pure 100 percent lies. I was born in Iringa, a town in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania, about 400 kilometers from Dar es Salaam. My parents loved music. My father could play several instruments including the mandolin; banjo, accordion, trumpet and I remember once seeing him trying to blow a saxophone. But the guitar was definitely my father’s favorite instrument. On weekends the whole family would sing along, while my father played the guitar. In the early days there was ‘His masters Voice’ Gramophone and a radio later there was a tape recorder, definitely every evening there was music. Music from all over the world, India music Congolese South African, Jimmy Rodgers and Gene Autry records and so on. There was always a guitar in his home until his death last year at the age of 74. My father recorded some of his songs early 1960 and the songs were first aired in a program called Jimbo Letu (Our Province) on 16th May 1960. He was paid 40/- for that. A proof that radios paid royalties then.
Receipt of payment from Tanganyika Broadcasting Corporation
   I remember seeing Mwalimu Nyerere holding a meeting on the football pitch of the school where my father was a teacher just a few months before independence. There was a lot of music from the horn speakers that day, one particular song has somehow stuck in my brain since that day, it was Salum Abdallah’s song Kuku watatu. The lyrics are about this chicken fight that Salum saw one day in a street. Three chickens were fighting, a black feathered chick, a white one and a black, each was fighting another, a song that was translated to be the fight for independence, between the Europeans, Asians and African’s. I remember the day before independence how we sprinkled water on the then dusty roads of Iringa ready for the Big Day. I honestly don’t remember any particular feeling that I felt that day but remember that it felt like everybody was happy about something big. And so that’s I grew up in Nyerere’s era. In school music was a must, not so much as music classes but more of singing classes, through the years we learnt hundreds of songs. In the early years of Independence we sang songs from books that were inherited from the just ended colonial period.
Chiriku Song Book
A typical school band
  All schools had a big marching band, every morning the band would perform a waltz, the favorite song was ‘Baba Paka’. This was a standard song when teachers would move around checking for cleanliness. Which included, length of hair, nails, teeth, uniforms. Believe me this was quite a frightening experience, at the time teachers were allowed to use a cane for the smallest of excuses. At the time one of my ambitions was being one of the musicians in the school band.   machi 
ag pri
Aga Khan Primary School ngoma group 1967
The mid 60s saw the new political stance with Mwalimu introducing his own brand of Socialism-Ujamaa. New books, new syllabus, new songs. Almost all the new songs were about Ujamaa. Over enthusiasm on the new Tanzania dream saw the banning of my number one childhood dream. I always wanted to be a Wolf-Cub, and later become a Boy Scout. This was banned, Young Pioneers and Green Guards took over, school bands were discouraged and ‘the Chinese’ goose-march was introduced. Goose-march teachers came from Zanzibar, and the marching orders were in Kiswahili with orders like ‘Nyumaz geuka’, ‘Kushotoz geuka’. Every school had to have a school choir, a traditional ngoma group. For a number of years I was in a school run by the Aga Khan, most of the students were Indians but they all had to participate in traditional ngomas .......to be continued

Monday, August 15, 2016

Serebuka Music Festival 2016, two years of Star times Kiswahili Chanel

 Ally Salehe 'Ali Kiba' performing during the just ended music festival celebrating two years of of Star Times Swahili Chanel. The festival named Serebuka Festival took place at the Posta Kijitonyama grounds on Saturday, The event was sponsored by Huawei Tanzania.
  Snura Mushi, entertaining at the festival
Juma Kassim 'Juma Nature' on stage
 'Stamina' entertaining the crowd of music fans
Crowd following the Serebuka Music festival
Two of the top artists in Tanzania, Judith Wambura 'Lady Jay Dee' and  Ali Salehe 'Ali Kiba' made a big difference by performing their music to a live band during the  Serebuka Music Festival 2016, that took place at the Posta Kijitonyama Grounds in Dar es Salaam on Saturday.The crowd suddenly warmed up when Lady Jay Dee took to the stageand began performing a number of her songs, and things went wild when she performed her new hit Ndi ndi ndi. Ali Kiba too got the same reception and was even begged to continue performing after his time was up. Another artists who made a great performance was Boniventure Kabobo 'Stamina'. The festival which was sponsored by Star Times, also had Juma Kasimu 'Juma Nature', Madee,Yamoto Band, Snura  and many other artists who performed using playback mode. 
This article was prepared by Dotto Mwaibale of<www.habarizajamii.com>

Thursday, August 4, 2016


The East Africa Vibes Concert will be happening this Saturday at Nafasi Art Space. Tickets are on sale now -- you can get yours at Nafasi from today or book online at: www.timetickets.net 

Eric Wainaina
Slim Emcee
Tuku himself

 The concert will feature live performances by Oliver "Tuku" Mtukudzi (Zimbabwe), Eric Wainaina (Kenya), Slim Emcee (Uganda), Wahapahapa Band (Tanzania) and many more. Tickets are just 50,000tsh VIP and 20,000tsh general admission. We hope to see you on Saturday!