I am venturing into unknown territory in this post. I have to admit that normally I am not a great fan of taarab music. I suspect this may be because most of the recordings I have heard are too sedate, too polite. I have - with a, over time, growing reluctancy - heard quite a number of taarab recordings, and have come to the conclusion that "let's go crazy" hardly seems to apply to the taarab music I have heard. The more modern recordings even appear to have suppressed the passion and spiritual energy which can be detected in older recordings like those of the classic "Songs The Swahili Sing" collection.
The cassette I would like to share with you in this post carries the title of "Best of Taarab Songs Vol.1". And this may sound pretentious, but I prefer to see it as a challenge: if you have better taarab songs, please share them with us!!
The cassette was bought by a friend in Nairobi in 1988. Apart from the titles the cassette contains no information about artists, so there is another challenge in this: can anyone help us out with the artist(s)?
I wouldn't be surprised, by the way, if the whole cassette was by the same group.
Among the songs that stand out amidst this wealth of quality taarab songs are a speedy "Mbona Mwatufuja", a piercing "Mapenzi Yaku Nichumu", a spine tingling "Zuhura" (a reference to the singer?) and a strangely haunting "Roho Yangu".
Please don't hesitate to point us in the direction of even more remarkable taarab artists.....
CS KSS 117 (new link - November 30, 2016)