Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Music in Tanzania

Traditional music

Tanzania has a large number of traditional instruments, many of which are specific to particular ethnic groups. The Zaramo people, for instance, perform traditional dance melodies such as "Mitamba Yalagala Kumchuzi" on tuned goblet drums, tuned cylindrical drums, and tin rattles.
The multi-instrumentalist Hukwe Zawose, a member of the Gogo ethnic group, was the 20th century's most prominent exponent of Tanzanian traditional music. He specialized in the ilimba, a large lamellophone similar to the mbira.
A famous song of Tanzania is "Tanzania Tanzania"

History of Tanzanian popular dance music (dansi)

The first popular music craze in Tanzania was in the early 1930s, when Cuban Rumba was widespread. Young Tanzanians organized themselves into dance clubs like the Dar Es Salaam Jazz Band, which was founded in 1932. Local bands at the time used brass and percussion instruments, later adding strings. Bands like Morogoro Jazz and Tabora Jazz were formed (despite the name, these bands did not play jazz). Competitions were commonplace, a legacy of native ngoma societies and colonial beni brass bands.


Independence came in 1961, however, and three years later the state patronage system was set up, and most of the previous bands fell apart. Musicians were paid regular fees, plus a percentage of the gate income, and worked for some department of the government. The first such band was the Nuta Jazz Band, which worked for the National Union of Tanzania.
The 1970s saw the popularization a laid-back sound popularized by Orchestre Safari Sound and Orchestre Maquis Original. These groups adopted the motto "Kamanyola bila jasho" (dance Kamanyola without sweating). Maquis hailed from Lubumbashi in southeastern Zaire, moving to Dar Es Salaam in the early 70s. This was a common move at the time, bringing elements of soukous from the Congo basin. Maquis introduced many new dances over the years, including one, zembwela, (from their 1985 hit "Karubandika", which was so popular that the term has become synonymous with dancing.
Popular bands in the 60s, 70s and 80s included Vijana Jazz, who were the first to add electronic instruments to dansi (in 1987) and DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra, led by Michael Enoch. Rivalries between the bands sometimes led to chaos in the scene, as when Hugo Kisima lured musicians from Mlimani Park and disbands the wildly-popular Orchestra Safari Sound in 1985, forming the International Orchestra Safari Sound. International Orchestra Safari Sound was briefly popular, but the Orchestra Safari Sound was revitalized by Nguza Viking (formerly of maquis), who became bandleader in 1991; this new group lasted only a year.
The most recent permutation of Tanzanian dance music is mchiriku. Bands like Gari Kubwa, Tokyo Ngoma and Atomic Advantage are among the pioneers of this style, which uses four drums and a keyboard for a sparse sound. Loudness is very important to the style, which is usually blared from out-dated speakers; the resulting feedback is part of the music. The origin of the style is Zaramo wedding music.

1 comment:

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