Tue, 12 Jul 2011 06:32:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Let me do the introductions… Tue, 12 Jul 2011 06:32:02 +0000 Ask me no questions, and I’ll tell you no fibs.
She Stoops to Conquer, Oliver Goldsmith

Life is hard.

It will eventually break all of us: but while that waits to happen, we have to keep going.

I want to carry out some introductions. First, to what I have been listening to. Almost 4 months ago now, a friend, in a new thread on what I hope will be a never ending conversation about music and life, pointed me to this something that I want to share with all of you.

To get acquainted with what you are about to get into, start by taking a listen to this.

And when you are done with that, you will understand why I think that this is a great introduction to something new. Start by reading this then listen to this and share what you think.

Two tracks that need listening to.

The first is definitely an oldie but a goodie. I have listened to multiple versions of this track including having Rico send in not one but 3 different covers that have since gone been taken down. I’m still having this huge internal debate about which I like best – Maya is like an old friend with whom I visit but once every two years with whom we resume conversation exactly where we left it the last time – gnawing at a bone whose flavor will never be all gone. The theme and lyrics to the number Maya always seem consistent so it would seem that they are all covers of the same original track (there is an excellent idea for a series, individual posts tracing the linage of a track). I really like Simaro on this particular number that S t e r n s has been kind enough to post on Soundcloud this last month. Even better, they are now making the tracks available on digital form.

Simaro Lutumba - Maya

   Take a listen to this.

Saxaphonist Mafumu Bilali “Bombenga” of Orch Maquis du Zaire says it best on his cover of this number
Sikiliza miziki ya watu wazima – “Listen to the music of mature people”.

The other track that I want to share is from the Orchestra Rock-a-Mambo catalog. For some reason, it seems that this track was only available as a 78 single or as part of one of two compilations that were definitely re-issues – Pathé Marconi’s AFRICAN RETRO Vol 6 and CONGO LATINO Columbia ESDF 1401 . The compilations are both from the 70s but the fact that there was a 78 single tells me the track is at least 50 years old – I think that I read somewhere on these internets that India was the last country producing 78 singles in 1966 or thereabouts but I am willing to stand corrected if anyone knows better.

Orchestra Rock-A-Mambo - Brigitte Rumba Orchestra Rock-A-Mambo – Brigitte Rumba

Static on this seems to be fast enough that it might be from a 78 but I cannot tell.

Don’t forget you heard it here first.

And the full track.

We shall be friends again yet.

]]> 0
The passing of a legend: Tanzania and music lovers mourn Remmy Ongala, 69 Tue, 14 Dec 2010 03:08:02 +0000 There is not much in the way of good information out there and almost everything I read seems to have contradictory detail but multiple media outlets are reporting that Remmy Ongala, born in 1947 has passed away.

]]> 273
Guest post: Mutungas’ “… keen on music …” Sat, 06 Nov 2010 15:04:27 +0000 Just saw this comment from Mutunga and decided to make it a post.


@Lydia (and all Ntwigans who are keen on music from Eastern Kenya):

Here are some of those tracks I promised you sometime back.
Let’s start with “Kimandiko” style, those night time dances your parents never allowed you to attend. (My folks wouldn’t let me go either :) )

Mandasi 110 – Joseph Mutaiti

Munyivu Wa Mang’ea – Joseph Mutaiti

Mutaiti reigned supreme for a long time, his sweet voice and great mastery of the guitar craft combining with words of advice in his ever-loved songs. But he wouldn’t have the last word on the solo guitair. Kakai Kilonzo had his say, then came along one young man who could play the solo guitar like no one else, making it match the notes of the lead singers exactly. I’m talking of the late “Kijana Softie”, Kasyoki of Katitu Boys Band.
Here’s one track:

Kathambi – Katitu Boys Band

Right now, the art of the Kamba record is undergoing a quiet revolution …. but maybe not so quiet when you listen to Sanita Musyoki, the up-and-coming innovator whose music targets the young generation (under 30). Here’s “Kana Ka Vicky”, who would rather not be touched “Ndienda Ukwatangwa!”.

Sinuka – Sanita Musyoki

Things get hotter with Man Kathumba taking the tempo to a frenetic climax.

Kwitu Mbooni – Man Kathumba

But perhaps the most seasoned musician in Ukambani today is Bosco Mulwa. In the track below, we hear him developing “Kyamulumba”, his own version of Rumba, which he combines with the Kamba “Musolo”,without forgetting to put it in a wider pan-African context.

Wakulume – Bosco Mulwa

Gone are the days when the Kamba music scene used to be male-dominated. The gloves come off as Serah Kithendu of Kawethei Sisters takes the microphone, advising members of the public to keep off the frothy stuff.

Uki Ti Museo – Serah Kithendu and Kawethei Sisters

But after all these fast-paced tracks, you might want to hear some sisters from the west with a more relaxing style. This is the track with which I learnt to waltz.

Mississippi – Pussy Cat

Have a great weekend.

Sorry about keeping these as SendSpace links: much as I hate SendSpace as a source for files (since the links expire), I cannot post the files to the site.

– Steve

]]> 60
call me… call me anything … Tue, 02 Nov 2010 02:56:48 +0000 This weekend marked a huge milestone for me.

I could not think of anything more appropriate to mark it here than this song, that I could (and can still) sing (badly) right through, word for word, blow for blow, with Paul and Chevy, since almost 15 years ago.

So far, no roly-poly bat-faced girl, no incidents and accidents, no hints and allegations.

But really…

“Why am I soft in the middle now?”

I don’t want to end up a cartoon in a cartoon graveyard.

Resolution for part two of this life:

It’s time to take my shot at redemption.

]]> 11
Return to you. Sat, 11 Sep 2010 05:53:04 +0000

“Never ruin an apology with an excuse.”

– Kimberly Johnson

I’m sorry.

Now that we have that out of the way, straight to business.

It is only appropriate, then, that we kick this off with a track from Matata. Their track “Return to you” from their debut album “Independence” is often overlooked for better know tracks like “I feel funky” and Getting together.

Matata - Independence  Matata - Independence Matata – Return to you

Let me know what you think.

Thanks for hanging around while I was doing what I had to do.

Hopefully, balance and sanity can now be restored to the universe.

]]> 189
Transmission resumes … Wed, 05 May 2010 13:29:57 +0000 Hi all

Had some troubles with my hosting company that put me out of business for 3 days – and of course this happened while I was carrying out the updates to create 2 distinct blogs (one for music and everything else I want to write about).

Things should be back to normal now, please let me know if you have any problems leaving comments.

– Steve

]]> 737
musical link: Franco Revival, Makmende Tue, 30 Mar 2010 21:20:06 +0000 Casa Ntwiga is enjoying a Franco Luambo Makiadi revival thanks to the new must-absolutely-read-but-impossible-to-comment-on blog Franco et. TPOK Jazz Restored.

To get you on your way, here is 16 minutes 55 seconds of stupefying, posted before, but now enjoying almost non-stop airplay here. This diversion, for those of you who may have missed it, is also definitely worth taking the time to read.

Franco et. T.P. O.K Jazz Franco Luambo Makiadi & TP OK Jazz – Tres impoli

Makmende, from Just a Band, for those of you, whom again, may have missed it.

Makmende is on CNN later today, make a point of watching the piece.

[UPDATE: March 31st 2010] CNN piece is now up here.

An aside, Makmende is a corruption of a much-loved Dirty Harry witticism …. I have posted Just a Band‘s work in the past, its great to see a phenom like this coming out of the very interesting stuff that they are doing.

]]> 2
musical link: one of the greatest sound checks of all time … Tue, 16 Mar 2010 04:27:54 +0000 I have been sitting on this particular post for almost 3 years now but it is time to let it have its moment in the sun. Here is a sound check by Malage, Shiko and Soukous Stars before a performance that they gave in New Jersey almost 4 years ago now. The recording was done by Scott Shuster who has a YouTube channel filled with gems like this. You can tell a man is prepared when he has an audio line running to his recording, the audio is 100% completely clean, no way he could have picked it up with his camera, he had to have a line to the board …

Is is only me who would actually pay money to listen to sound checks like this?

That video has about 4700 views right now and I am sure 1000 of those views are me, lets see how many it climbs to over the next few days.

]]> 2
musical link: Guest Post – David Ochan – When a reject is good enough … Sat, 06 Mar 2010 06:41:49 +0000

Les Mangelepa was a splinter group from Baba Gaston Ilunga Wa Ilunga’s Baba National. I came to know band members of Mangelepa when they briefly lived as our neighbours at Golf Course Estates in Nairobi. They always sounded as if they were quarreling amongst themselves, but the moment they start singing, it was pure joy to hear them. And, whenever Les Mangelepa composed a song, they also invented a dance to go with that song – at least up to and including their Malawi Zikomo LP. Rumours had it that some influential residents complained that they were making too much noise. Eventually they had to move to Buru Buru Estates all the way across on the far side of Nairobi.

I attended their live shows twice while they were based at Serena Hotel near Uhuru Park.

In 1979/80 Mangelepa made a trip to Kampala after several postponements. Most people who had booked in advanced had demanded their money back from the promoters. The few of us who kept their tickets turned out to be lucky because the ticket price trebled. I bumped into Kabila Kabanze “Evani” with two of the promoters on Kampala Road. The promoters were excited and started introducing Kabila to me only to be surprised that Kabila knew me and asked me in Kiswahili what I was doing in Kampala. He then requested me to take some pictures of their performance if I still had my camera. I ended up taking dozens of their photos from their performances at Delight Cinema, Lugogo Indoor Stadium and Makerere University.

I gave all those photos to “Le Capitane” Bwamy and individual artists with the safe knowledge that I shall reprint my copies anytime I want since I had the Negatives. I retained a few poor quality “rejects”. As fate would have it, the “rejects” are the only photos with me now as my camera and all my negatives in the camera case was stolen from our car outside Cameo cinema in Nairobi. But I believe the “rejects” are still better than nothing.

Twinkale Wa Twinkale “Mtoto (Mwana) Ya Mama Maria”, nicknamed thus because he was a devout christian and always wearing a small gold crucifix and whom also happened to be the composer of Detshu did not make the trip to Kampala due to family sickness. Instead the group brought a Tanzanian musician who sang on their english and reggae numbers. They also brought a white lady, Wendy, who would do a “strip dance” to the tune of Kadgera and ended up causing a lot of commotion at Makerere University. I suspect that some of the readers of this blog who were “Freshers” in their first year at Makerere at the time can testify to this.

It is my hope is that we can gather all of Mangelepa rare hits and put together a complete collection.

(click through for higher resolution images).

Les Mangelepa
  Les Mangelepa - Lutulu Bwami Mayombo Tshilumba  

Les Mangelepa
  Les Mangelepa  Les Mangelepa - Lutulu Kaniki  

Les MangelepaLes Mangelepa – Lisapo (Kalenga Nzazi Vivi)

Les MangelepaLes Mangelepa – Amua

Les MangelepaLes Mangelepa – Auto Stop

Les MangelepaLes Mangelepa – Detshu – Twinkale wa Twinkale

Les MangelepaLes Mangelepa – Djalaa

Les MangelepaLes Mangelepa – Mbungu (original)

Les MangelepaLes Mangelepa – Mbungu (v.2)

Les MangelepaLes Mangelepa – Zarina

Les MangelepaLes Mangelepa – Zeba

Les MangelepaLes Mangelepa – Maboko Pamba

Thank you David for sharing this little piece of history and the photos. Please keep the guest posts coming.

– Ntwiga

]]> 301
musical link: TKZee – a bounty Fri, 26 Feb 2010 20:03:30 +0000 Hey good people

A bounty awaits anyone who can do all of the following
– let me know the name of this track
– link me to anywhere on these inter-tubes where I can buy it

TKZee - Sdudla

I know that the track is by TKZee and I know that it is in the both the intro and outro (that’s how good it is!) to the video of their new single Sdudla that you can find here but aside from that I know nothing.

TKZee – Like a pantsula??

Here is the track that the snippet comes from – TKZee’s newest single Sdudla.

An update

The track is named “Viva la pantsula” and it is from their new CD. The single is featured in a ad campaign for MTV centered around the ‘Ayoba’ theme that you can find here, here and here.

I have to say though that this is not the TKZee we knew before. If you listen to the two tracks that I have mentioned in this post, lyrics aside, the music is rock-solid. Great production and orchestration with fantastic instrumentation. Really solid music. And the Sdudla video is a very professional concept executed in near perfection.

I have been saying and writing good things about TKZee for almost ten years now, both here on this blog and other places and I think that this new release just goes to proving my point.

Another update: just found another track off their new album – Dikakapa.

I do not want to sound like a fanboy but seriously, is anyone listening to this stuff when I post it?. It is so seriously polished – the production work on this music is amazing. I still cannot find anywhere to buy this album though. It does not seem to be on sale online. Can anyone help? If you are in SA, let me know and I will drop you some cash to buy / rip / send.

Big up!



Does anyone remember Smörgåsbord IV and the intense conversation that came out of that about the radio show Klankenstapper / Concertzender. Well, I only just saw an email from Robert Kroos that dropped into my mailbox about a week ago who was responsible for that show on Radio Netherlands on Kanindo Singles.

Here is the comment that you can find at this link

Hello.. I am the one who did the show of Kanindo Singles on the Concertzender. By typing the word Kanindo I got on your blog.
The music broadcasted on that particular show is from cassettes I bought in Zimbabwe. In the middle of the night on a parking place I begged a truck driver to tell me what he was playing on his soundsystem finding out it was Kanindo.
I have not read the whole thread here but if there are any specific questions I am glad to answer them.
All music on this show is taken from 3 cassettes and 1 (promo?) cd(with tape cover) from the Kanindo series.

All the best: Robert Kroos

– Steve

Well, I for one have a ton of questions including how come they talk about Doug Paterson about 20 mins in and even more important than that, how did a truck driver in Zimbabwe just happen to be listening to Kisii Kanindo singles?

Any takers for Robert’s kind offer?

]]> 4