Artists & Bands
Bands - Tanzania
Bands - Zanzibar
Bands - East Africa
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You are here > City > Culture > Local Artists > Tanzania
African Stars (Twanga Pepeta) (Tz) Undoubtedly Tanzania’s hottest band of the moment, jam-packing any venue they perform in on the mainland and almost permanently at top of the national music charts. Their song lyrics are mostly in Kiswahili, though the music and dance routines are very much influenced by popular Congolese styles - to produce the ‘twanga papeta’ style which is played continually in clubs and radio stations throughout the country.
Amani Music Ensemble (Tz) The Festival is proud to present this group, which features several musicians from Tatu Nane, one of Tanzania’s most famous groups internationally. The group play traditional instruments as well as modern and improvise to bring you a show which is bound to be exciting as well as unique. One not to miss! back to top
Bantu Group (see Commando Hamza) (Tz)
Chu Chu Sound (Tz) Zima moto!! Tanzanian super group launched last year, featuring musicians from Congo, Zanzibar and Tanzania mainland. They sing in a variety of languages including lingala, French and kiswahili and perform a variety of modern music and dance styles including rumba, mduara, reggae, ndombolo and r’n’b. RECORDINGS: Kusema sema (2000) Hodi Hodi Tanzania (2001)
Commando Hamza Kalala & Bantu Group (Tz) This legendary artist in the Tanzanian music scene has remained true to his roots, fusing local rhythms with newer influences to produce irresistible beats with lyrical wizardry that will be appreciated by people of all ages and backgrounds. RECORDINGS: many local cassette releases including most recent “Tutabanana Hapa Hapa”
Espen and the Easies (Denmark/Tz) Led by Espen Sorensen, who was born in Denmark and grew up in Zambia, this eclectic group plays a variety of music with influences ranging from Jimi Hendrix, Koffi Olomide, Muddy Waters, Bob Marley and also folk music styles of everywhere from Tanzania to Ireland! Their lyrics are derived from personal experiences as well as universal situations such as the conflicts between rich and poor - speaking to people of all races and cultural backgrounds in a way that only music can.
Gangwe Mobb (Tz)
Ask any young person in Tanzania about this group and you will see a mischievous smile appear and a twinkle in the eye. Led by the most respected rapper on the Tanzanian hip-hop scene, Inspector Haroun, an artist famed for his hypnotic wordplay, breathtaking metaphors and lyrical vitality. Gangwe Mobb also features the talents of Lutenant Kalamah, “Kalamah the Supreme”, another important originator in the burgeoning world of Swahili ghetto intellect : “there is no mind therapy as effective as music... I am more than honoured to be one of the Bongo Soul Food Architects”, says Kalamah. In 2000, Gangwe Mobb’s single Ngangali hit the airwaves with a massive punch and stayed at top of the music charts for months, becoming voted as hip hop single of the year. Their new song Mtoto wa Geti Kali not only convinced their fans but also music critics that Gangwe Mobb have been blessed with unlimited hip hop magnificence.
Gatecrashers (Tz) -Another talented hip hop crew, this time from Kikwajuni Zanzibar, featuring five emcees. As they watch their Bongo Flava (Swahili rap music from mainland) counterparts dominating the Tanzanian scene, Gatecrashers aim to take Zenji flava to a new level, with lyrical flow mostly touching on youth and their social problems.
Hard Blasters (Tz)
This is one of Tanzania’s longest standing hip hop groups. Established in 1989, three of the founding artists remain to this day: Joseph Haule (Nigga J), William Shundi (Crazy One) and Terry Msiaga (Fanani). The group were first runners up behind Kwanza Unit in the National Rap contest in 1994, and went on to win first prize in years that followed. In 1997 they toured Tanzania. Hard Blasters started preparation for their third album in 1998. After two years the album came out, revealing modern rap classic singles including “chuzi limekubali” , “mamsap” and “chemsha bongo” which have all spent several months at the top of East African and Tanzanian music charts. RECORDINGS: Mambo ya Mjini (1994) Blast Nuff (1997) Funga Kazi (2000) back to top
Islanders Band (Znz/Tz) -One of Zanzibar’s most popular bands, playing the African traditional music with zouk and rumba music influences thus creating it’s unique style. Being inspired by great African musicians like Manu Dibango and Yossou Ndour, the group aimed to achieve international popularity through their music style and expected to release their first album later this year, after recording their 1st single “Tamasha”, which was the festival theme song last year. back to top
Fast rising and hotly tipped for international fame, Judith Wambura, a.k.a, Jaydee, is at the forefront of the burgeoning Swahili ‘r’n’b’ scene. Awarded Best Female Artist 2001 in M-Net’s Where U At awards earlier this year. Also, the video for her latest music release, ‘Machozi’ (Tears), produced by Benchmark Productions, has set new standards in African music video and helped Tanzania’s favourite, Lady Jaydee, win over the hearts of many r’n’b fans. Recalling the first day when she realised that she has a great voice, she says, “Out of faith I started singing in church and with the great help from my two true good friends my mom, and my manager Ruge, I am ready to rule the world.” Jaydee was inspired by artists like Lauryn Hill, Lil Kim, Monica, Dr. Dre and Whitney Houston. But most of all she says she wouldn’t have gotten where she is today without the great help of God. RECORDINGS Machozi (Smooth Vibes, 2001)
JhikoMan (Tz)-Ras Jhiko, from Tanzania mainland, plays roots conscious reggae music, singing in Kiswahili and English. Like the man says, “reggae music is about peace, love and unity among people... it is about raising awareness about oppressions and injustice in our society.” Hard working and fast rising in recognition, JhikoMan may soon find his deserved position as East Africa’s most successful roots reggae artist.RECORDINGS: Afrikaribian Beat, 2000 Safari, 2001 back to top
Kilimanjaro Band (Njenje) (Tz) Best Band of Tanzania 2001 Award Winners in M-Net’s Where U At Awards; even since the mid-1980s Kilimanjaro Band have continued to enjoy success year after year, with people of all ages in Tanzania. These days the group is more commonly referred to as ‘Njenje’, with their new-style ‘mduara’ (local more tropical variety of circle dancing!) and professional productions, they continue to provide inspiration for younger upcoming artists, as their popularity grows even more. RECORDINGS: Njenje (1988), Maua (1997), Kinyaunyau (2000) and more...
Mionzi Dance Theatre (Tz) Formed in 1997, the group’s aim is to combine modern dance, African traditional dance, music and drama, to increase understanding and appreciation for Tanzanian cultural values and to build awareness of sensitive issues concerning the community. The group regularly conduct theatre and dance workshops in primary schools, performing live in a variety of venues as well as on national TV.
Mr II (Tz) M-Net Best Male Singer Grammy Award Winner for Tanzania 2001, Joseph Mbilinyi, is East Africa’s most popular rap icon, where everyone knows him as Mr II (pronounced ‘2’). A voice for the voiceless, his brand of rap is soulful, lyrical, rhythmical and from the heart. One of the most popular albums with the youth in the country this year so far is Mr II’s latest and sixth release, Muziki na Maisha. Copies of his albums have officially sold in tens of thousands, but like he says, “Music piracy is the death of me. I can’t say how many copies of my music have been acquired illegally - maybe a million; I don’t know for sure. But my music is everywhere within and outside the country.” Mr II is not afraid to tell it like it is, tackling sensitive issues of concern to many Tanzanians such as democracy, child prostitution, police brutality and corruption. Just returned from Mondial Festival, in Holland, one of Europe’s biggest music events, where he was ‘the bomb’! RECORDINGS Ndani ya Bongo (1996); Niite Mister II (1998); Nje ya Bongo (1999) Millennium (2000); Muziki na Maisha (2001)
Mr Paul (Tz) One of the founders and most creative Tanzanian artists on the burgeoning Swahili r’n’b scene, Mr Paul is down with the best of them and about to hit the international airwaves with his new release on Smooth Vibes. Aside from his solo success, Mr Paul has also made great contributions to recent albums by Mr II, Unique Sisters, Dola Soul and Juma Nature.
Nyota Academia (Tz) Led by their extremely talented director George Tyson, Nyota is a very popular theatre group who are best known from their weekly TV drama, Mambo Hayo, on ITV. Many of their artists, Richie, Natasha, JB and others are already popular throughout mainland East Africa, including Kenya. For this first visit to Zanzibar they are sure to either ruffle your feathers or have you rolling in your seats as Nyota Academia present their very special version of The Government Inspector. back to top
Olduvai Band (Tz)
Parapanda Arts (Tz) Led by Mgunga Mwa-Mnyenyelwa’s brilliant poetry, this group was formed by university students in Dar es Salaam during 1994. Expert practitioners in African arts, philosophy, swahili storytelling and poetry, Parapanda Arts also perform modern interpretations of traditional music and dance styles. Their fame spread throughout the nation and beyond after releasing the single “Nenda Mwalimu” - the most loved of many musical tributes to the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere.
Sisi Tambala (Tz) Since their formation in 1997 this group has been receiving wide critical acclaim for their originality in reinterpreting traditional Tanzanian music and dance styles into their own “ngwashala” style. They sing in a variety of tribal languages, English and Kiswahili, portraying messages of African unity and peace as well as other social and economic issues. In April they performed at Youth Festival of SADC countries in Mozambique and were the 1st runners up in M-Net Where U At Awards for Best Group 2001.
unique Sisters (Tz)
X Plastaz is a rap trio from Arusha, Tanzania, whose musical style is a unique fusion of different elements. Raps are in Swahili, Kihaya and Maa (Kimaasai), and apart from American influenced hip hop the group fuses traditional elements from Maasai, Haya and other tribes. Crew member G-sann is founding member of an NGO that preserves traditional culture. Their first single 'Bamiza', hit Tanzania's Radio One Charts at number one in 1998, where it remained for 6 weeks. The video to 'Bamiza', shot on location in Arusha and edited by Madunia Music (Holland), is set to become Tanzania's most requested videoclip for the year 2001.
Yekete Beat (Tz) -Started in 1989, this is a hot muziki wa dansi group from Usa River, Arusha, which was originally founded by Danish Volunteer Development Cooperation. Yekete Beat’s music is to educate as well as to entertain, and they have an enthusiastic following amongst Tanzanians of all ages.