Various artists: Rough Guide to the Music of Tanzania

WorldMusic Network
By BANNING EYRE  |  May 1, 2006
3.5 3.5 Stars

Rough Guide to the Music of Tanzania
TANZANIA: No superstars, no problem

Tanzania has produced no superstars, but this volume argues that it’s nevertheless an Afropop powerhouse. The 11 tracks span guitar-band boogie, quasi-Arabic taarab orchestral music, roots percussion, and the hypnotic otherworldliness of Wagogo thumb-piano music, as well as Tanzanian hip-hop of the cute, melodic, and severe varieties. Tanzania’s guitar bands possess a laid-back richness, and the tracks here by Ottu Jazz Band, Mlimani Park Orchestra, and the late Ndala Kasheba fronting a big band with his acoustic 12-string are nothing short of majestic. Saida Karoli is a rising star on the roots side; a spare track showcases her candy-sweet alto voice and the seductive tug of her village groove. And X Plastaz’s “Dumi Dudumizi,” with its blend of hard-edged rap and a vocal melody from a Masai circumcision ritual, is among the most effective songs African hop-hop has yet produced.
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