I have to confess it is at times hard to keep up with all the comments that are sent to me both on posts on this weblog and on videos uploaded to Youtube. Although I don't always have the time to react to all of these I can assure you I do read them and do appreciate all the comments* you send in.
The other day a comment was sent to me by a Mr. Msomali, who is - I deduce from his writings - a Tanzanian living in the UK. He wrote about a subject which is also very close to my heart and very high on my (unfortunately extensive) wishlist:
"I want to start the discussion of where the videos of Mbaraka Mwinshehe can be found. I am sure it is in Kenya and Japan.
I will explain why.
Mbaraka took his Morogoro Jazz Band as part of a large group of cultural ensembles/artists representing Tanzania in the EXPO 70 exhibition that took place in Japan in 1970. Being good in technology as they are, I am certain the Japanese recorded every event that went on in each pavilion.
As to Kenya: a lady asks her husband to take her to a Super Volcano show (when the Band was visiting the couple's town) as she says she listens to their songs almost every single day on the Radio, and she also watches them often on the Television. All this is in Mbaraka's song called 'Nipeleke Nikashudie' (which roughly translate as "Take me, so that I can see them perfom live"). By TV here she means VOK Tv (Voice of Kenya Tv).
I believe both VOK (now called KBC Tv) and NHK Tv (Japan's National Tv) have Mbaraka's videos in their archives.
I also believe that both these institutions have a public duty to release these videos of one of the truly gifted musicians to come out of East Africa.
His country was/still is too poor to have have had Television in his lifetime, but he served Kenyans and entertained them in equal measure, and has everyone listened to his song EXPO 70, celebrating his participation there?
Mbaraka belonged to all of us, so the least these two institutions can do to world music heritage is to release his videos into the public domain.
Any ideas on how we can go about asking them to do this service to world music, anyone?
What can I say? I support this appeal wholeheartedly. I can't wait to see a video of this giant of Tanzanian music.
If there is anyone out there who has links with either Kenyan or Japanese television, please help us out!
And should you need any encouragement I advise you to listen to this brilliant sample of the great man's repertoire, which as it happens contains both the song "Nipeleke Nikashudie" and two songs dedicated to the EXPO in Japan (including that killer "Expo No.2"!!!!). And the five other songs are all equally disarming in their unpretentious and truely authentic brilliance.
POLP 566 (or POLP 566)
* I would like to make an exception to those sad idiots (and I am holding back here...) who try and slip a commercial link into their so-called comments.