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

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