Today's post features classic muziki wa dansi from the late 1970s. This album (the first LP edition on Tanzania Film Company TLP001?) showcased NUTA Jazz Band and J.K.T. Kimbunga.
The bands in the 1960s and 1970s were tied to Tanzania's state and parastatal bodies - these could their hands more easily on restricted import items like musical instruments and amplifiers. NUTA Jazz was the band of the National Union of Tanzania Workers, later changed into JUWATA, and even later into OTTU.
The NUTA Jazz tracks on the A side are great; I love the B side with J.K.T. Kimbunga even more. There is not much info to be found about JKT Kimbunga (aka Kimbunga Stereo): it was the band affiliated with the National (Army) Service, Jeshi la Kujenga Taifa. Some of its members also came out of NUTA Jazz, like Capt. John Simon (who was part of Shikamoo Jazz).
Like many Jazz Bands, the lyrics focus on love affairs -- when they are not concerned with building the nation. JKT's lyrics are a delight: Ushirikina deals with a woman who seeks a love potion from a witchdoctor and feeds it to her love interest, the next morning the man is found dead. Wachuma watatu describes a woman with three lovers: "Abandon your ways, sister. What's worse, you're taking money from all three!" In Cheza Rumba they warn dancers to watch their clothes, "Don't let them be blown away by the fierce wind (of Kimbunga's rumba)."
Askew, K. (2002). Performing the nation: Swahili music and cultural politics in Tanzania. University of Chicago Press.
Graebner, W. (2007). The Ngoma Impulse: From Club to Nightclub in Dar es Salaam. Dar es Salaam: Histories from an Emerging African Metropolis, 177-97.
Perullo, A. (2008). Rumba in the city of peace: Migration and the cultural commodity of congolese music in dar es salaam, 1968-1985. Ethnomusicology, 52(2), 296-323. Download here.
TLP001 NUTA Jazz Band - JKT Kimbunga