Filed under: Tanzania
Taarab is a music genre popular in Tanzania, as well as neighboring Kenya. Much like Dangdut music of Indonesia, you can hear the Arabic and Indian influences that are a result of the cross-pollination with trade routes across the Indian Ocean.
Taarab is believed to have originated in Egypt, with their film orchestras provided an important model in the ’50s. More recently, Egyptian and Lebanese pop and especially Hindi film music have influenced the music’s melodies and vocal styles. Taarab songs explore romance and marriage, though their stylized Swahili poetry can suggest political interpretations. The instrumentation can include African drums, tablas, dumbek, riq, oud, qanun, taishōgoto, as well as organ and accordion. There is also usually guitar and bass, but often get lost in the mix with the violins and cellos.
The only information that I have been able to find on J. K. T. Taarab, is that they were from Tanzania’s capitol, Dar es Salaam. For more information on Taarab music, check out Likembe – where you can find some tracks by Jasmin Musical Club and Shani Musical Club, as well as a few others – and Afropop.org.
Catalog number AHD (MC) 034 on FLATIM Records / Ahadi Productions of Nairobi, Kenya. No release date listed.
Note: The song Mcheza Bao is cut short due to the fact that the side of the cassette ends before the song does.