March 17, 2010

The last recordings

Released in the year of his death these recordings were released as Mbaraka Mwinshehe's last recordings. Of course a few years later Polygram Kenya had to spoil it by releasing what they called "The Very Last Recordings".
I am guessing this is what we'll see in the next few years with 'the last recordings', 'the very last recordings' and 'recordings he made after his death' by Michael Jackson.

But the phenomenon itself should give you an idea of the importance and the standing of the man who was named 'Soloist National'. And the nation can be either Kenya, where he worked and recorded, or Tanzania, where he was born and raised and where he took his first steps on the road to musical fame.

The lp features some of Mbaraka's most famous hits: "Shida" and "Mtaa wa saba", of which the lyrics can be translated as follows:
"Mtaa wa saba" - The seventh street
"I moved today to the seventh street, from the house where I lived before. You could hardly call it a house.
I moved, I moved... when I saw it got too much for me. Always neighbours, children and animals annoying me. Always that terrible heat.
But now I am finally free of that wailing of cats that kept me awake at night. The children are no longer suffering.
Comrades, I don't have words for it. We are crazy with joy! ["wapangaji wa wanazo namii"???] I am no longer cheated by the landlord, thank God!
The heat was terrible beneath the palmleaf roof. It is almost a month ago, and meanwhile I have got a pay rise at work. My wife and children no longer have to suffer. All our troubles are over! "
(translation: Joris Oldewelt)

Not the kind of thing Michael Jackson would sing about, I suppose.

Polydor POLP 512 (1979) or alternative link

PS: please feel free to add the missing sentence in the translation...

EDIT September 13, 2015: the front sleeve of this album has been found (see below), and I have added this to the audio files (only the first link!!), which I have upgraded to 320kbps in the process.


Kostas from Greece said...

Hello and thank you ...
Please take care of this LP...only 2 tracks...something is wrong...Thank you again...(something is happened when there are too many letters in the title of the file)

poltroon said...

Thanks for this post. i now have all but one of the Mbaraka albums I know about (Ukumbusho Vol 10, if it was ever released). Sadly though Polygram duplicated tracks from other albums so only one cut is unique here -- "Hayati Ndugu Sembuli"-- the others were all on other Ukumbusho volumes.

WrldServ said...

@Kostas: I will upload this to another server this evening (and will use a shorter name), so there will be two download options.

@poltroon: I have neither seen or heard of a volume 10.
I realise all the tracks except one were reissued later. The motive for chosing this one was the news they were going to start issuing 'the last recordings' of MJ (plus the fact I had a translation of one of the songs).

Koronya Mwambia said...

"Wapangaji hawana zogo nami" -

wapangaji - renters
hawana - do not have
zogo - quarrel
nami - with me .

poltroon said...

I got volume 11 from Natari but it's no longer on his page, some of the others are though

Juan Carlos said...

some time ago of vol.12 Douglas paterson commented

Volume 12: (cassette) Usiingulie Ugomvi Wao, Poleni Rufiji, Happy Christmas, Huyu Ni Shemeji Yako, Harusi No 2, Sitakata Tamaa, Headquarters ya Volcano, Vipi Posa (Mshenga No 2);topic=1116.0

Juan C

WrldServ said...

@Juan Carlos: Gracias for the additional information!

Tim said...

Many thanks for sharing this. Last week I was researching the Kenyan music scene in back issues of the Standard, one of Nairobi's two main English-language newspapers, and was surprised at how little coverage Mwinshehe's tragic death received in the paper even though his music blared out of every bar, matatu and market.

Here in full is the sole Standard report of the accident, complete with poor grammar:

Monday, January 15, page 2, col 5, lead

Headline: Tanzanian singer dies

The renown Tanzanian singer and band leader Mr Mbaraka Mwinshehe Mwaruka died on Saturday at the Coast General Hospital following a car accident at Kengeleni, Kongowea in which two other people also died.

Mr Mwinshehe, who was on a recording tour in Mombasa with his Morogoro-based band Super Volcano, was seriously injured when the car
they were travelling in collided with a lorry and was rushed to hospital with leg and body injuries.

Two of his companions died instantly.

That's it, no photo, obituary, nothing. The newspapers in Kenya just didn't take music seriously at the time.

Anonymous said...

Whats even more surprising is that NO ONE HAS SEEN a video of Mbaraka anywhere!
I am sure someone has an old VHS clip somewhere please post!

wuod k

Anonymous said...

Mbaraka Mwinshehe did so much for the East African music scene.
He entertained,educated the masses about Healty Eating,argued the learders of the region to unite politicaly and ecomicaly for the benefit of their people.
He even composed a song 'Magazeti yetu ya Africa Mashariki'praising the East Africa's newspapers/press for the important job there were doing for the the whole community.He praises the Kenyan Standard newspaper among others in that song.
No one can dispute the fact that he was a legend in his own lifetime in the whole of East and Central Africa.
So you would naturally expect his death in a car accident,to be widely reported in the region,and to even dominate the news for quite some time.
But according to Tim,who researched the way his death was
reported in the Kenyan's Standard newspaper,the was no picture of him in the said article.nothing about how the fans had reacted to the news,and what a big loss it was to the whole of East Africa.
Could Tim go back and reseach for us how the same said newspaper reported the death of Elvis Presley two years earlier?
That will tell its own story of how people could sadly be brainwashed to treat their own culture/culture icons with contempt and worship sad to see Mbaraka being treated this way by his own people,by the newspaper he praised in his song as one of the forces of good for the community.
Thank you Tim for doing this research.
Mr Msomali

LeFranck said...

This LP was a must for me. Glad I found it here.
Got problem with the compressed file. Winrar says its corrupt. I can't get the B1. Mtaa wa saba pts.1 & 2.

Can you upload the LP again?


WrldServ said...

@LeFranck: I'll gladly upload it again, but I have downloaded it in two locations (work and home), and don't have a problem unrarring it...
So I am not sure this will help.
Mail me on the address in my profile and I will send the files to you directly.

LeFranck said...

Thank you Tim for your fast reply. After downloading three times I managed to uncompress it without any errors. It was kinda strange but I'm glad it went well.
I'm new to Mbaraka and I love his music. The strong connection to Franco is so clear. I don't understand Swahili but the guitar I do. I'm so stunned by Barakas way of playing. I really hope that you have more of him.


WrldServ said...

@LeFranck: Tim???

LeFranck said...

Sorry. That was a bummer. The post was for you, but not the name. Don't now where that came from.