Among my resolutions for this new year is one which may prove to be somewhat challenging: for I intend to post more music from East Africa.
The challenge lies not so much in the music, but in 'peripheral' matters.
This post is a good example of this. For although I had copied the music, I had done so in a time when even a copy-shop (or any other facility where one could turn to to produce a photocopy) was a veritable rarity. In fact, it must have been around the time when this record was released. Luckily I recently received digital copies of the sleeve, so I can now share the record with you.
This post is also intended as an encouragement for the Tanzania Heritage Project (see their website), a project which aims to restore and preserve the archives at Radio Tanzania.
This video from their website gives a short introduction:
Compared to a similar project which involves the conservation of (a large part of) the archives of the RTG in Conakry, Guinea, and which is carried out by just one (1) person, i.e. my good friend Graeme Counsel, I am impressed by the size of the team. I hope this will be reflected in the results of the project, - which for now seem to focus largely on the project itself. But I remain optimistic......
In all the discussions about rights and 'infringements' an aspect seems to have been overlooked. When dealing with African music issues of rights (which in any case are mostly the rights of - often dubious - producers) are insignificant compared to the far, far larger issue of the irretrievable and absolute loss of enormous quantities of unique and irreproducable musical recordings.
You may have read my earlier posts where I 'moan' about the 'limitations' in the (digital) reproduction of Franco's impressive oeuvre. To be honest I have to add that these limitations are almost trivial compared to the reproduction of the works by others, like for example the Vijana Jazz Orchestra.
And I hasten to add that Stern's have just over a year ago released a very recommendable CD, which you can still obtain from their site.
Music by Vijana Jazz has also appeared on a few compilations, but I think we are still a long way from a structured and integral disclosure of their musical legacy.
When it comes to biographical information I was surprised to find there is even an entry in the wikipedia dedicated to this illustrious Tanzanian formation, which like others (see here and here) has its origins in a public (i.e. linked to the state) organisation.
I suppose this album can be seen as the peak of the career of the late singer Hemedi Maneti with two of his greatest hits: "Mary Maria" and "Tambiko la Pamba Moto". I love the wonderfully intrusive guitar (and matching bass!) and the great vocals, both the lead and the chorus.
If you ask me, both of these tracks don't only deserve a place in the Heritage of Tanzania, but should also at least be nominated for a place in the World Heritage List (and especially if you see what is actually on this list...).
OFF-TOPIC: I have started a page on Facebook, where I will occasionally post links to 'matters of interest'. Don't expect any profundity though....
Don Covay – Super Dude I Mercury 1973
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