Some artists just seems to be born for an unfair share of bad luck. Although I have no insight into his personal situation with regards to loves and winning the lottery, Tanzanian singer Issa Juma seems to have fallen in this category. And I am speaking of the past, because this voice among voices, this Star among East-African stars has died almost two decades ago. He hadn't been too fortunate before that, having been partially paralyzed after a stroke. This happened after he had stopped performing and withdrew from music after spending six months in jail for working without a permit. And this was just one in series of mishaps.
Going by this record from 1984 I am sharing with you in this post, I get the impression Issa himself was -consciously or subconsciously- aware of his destiny. Accompanied by Waanyika, one of the many aliases of a band that had split off from Les Wanyika (see the discography by John B.), his singing is brilliant, - but definitely filled with a deeply sensed sadness. The guitars certainly contribute to confirm this impression. In the track "Utalia Na Nani" sorrow even surfaces and crying is heard....
This said, I hasten to add that this is one of my favourite East African records in the swahili rumba genre, with four tracks of outstanding quality.
And a strange thing about this record: after listening to it I always feel a lot happier. It is like the misfortune of Issa Juma acts a counterbalance to any negative emotions I might have had.......
Nyika LP-02 OR: NYIKA LP-02
Almon Memela: Broken Shoes (1976)
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