Tanzanian Bongo Flava seems to be gathering momentum outside the continent and if the numbers of Fly readers airing their views about this music are anything to go by, it’s moving and shaking its way round the world
So here’s a 2006 release to get hold of, Mapito: a collaboration between Grandmaster Records in Arusha, Tanzania and UK musicians and producers. The brains behind the project is Ralph Godden — aka the Funkdisaster — who visited Tanzania, recorded, remixed and spiced-up tracks to produce a very new Bongo Flava sound. Many of the seventeen tracks are familiar but it’s a treat to hear how the Bongo sound can cross borders and raise its game to produce a very cool, urban, universal sound.
Mapito features the Big Names: Sugu aka Mr 2, Solo Thang and Mr Ebbo plus names from Bongo and Arusha who those outside the country might not have heard of like Skissy and Mr Soap.
Sugu, aka Mr 2, is featured with a track that has won prizes. The Funkdisaster Remix of ‘Moto chini bu sugu’ won a competition set by Africanhiphop.com to remix one of two of Sugu’s recent tracks. Sugu’s vocals sound great driving over a drum and bass beat and some true rock guitar sounds. Suddenly, you can picture a Bongo Flava track in an epic blockbuster film about guys and guns.
Another great track is ‘Niwachache Tu’ Timebomb Remix from Mr. Soap. Bongo Flava rapping with a drum and bass back beat – a great pairing of vocals and sampling, showing how versatile the sounds from Bongo can be.
The Babkubwa website is packed with information, as well as other tracks from Bongo Flava artists and other guest musicians www.babkubwa.com and X-plastaz’s ‘Not Ready’ babkubwa remix is one of the site’s highlights and is availbale for download. The group know what they’re doing anyway when it comes to rap and mixing, seemless wordplay, mixed in with Maasai singing and sounds. But this track is given an added something by the Funkdisaster: grinding guitar sounds and some funk thrown in.
Another artist from the Mapito Album is an unlikely Bongo Flava star, Owen Saunders from Cumbria in England, a guitarist-singer-songwriter featured on Maptio’s Self Destruct track. Plans are afoot to release his first album through Babkubwa and Nomadic Wax later this year.
Maptio is released by Bab Kubwa Media (Tanzania/UK based African Hip-Hop Label) and Nomadic Wax. All proceeds from the album will go to the World Swim for Malaria Foundation.
‘Kibweno’ – Miss Arie Feat Simba
‘Gangster Pampa’ – Skissy
‘Nipe Mic’ – Kabo P
‘Sister Du’ – Solo Thang
‘Mapito’ – Tina & Skissy
‘Moto Chini’ – Sugu aka Mr. 2
‘Utabiri’ – Mr. Ebbo feast Mokweli
‘Unaweza’ – KGM Crew
‘Mnyato’ – Structure P
‘Mimi Ni Music’ – Skissy
‘Popo’ – Yega & Ben Thomas
‘Sinyorita’ – KGM Crew
‘Unachofeel’ – LC feat Benamo and Mr Soo – Tactical Thinking Remix
‘Mke Wangu’ – Mr. D
‘Niwachache Tu’ – Mr. Soap – Timebomb Remix
‘Self Destruct’ – Owen Saunders & Mike Freear feat LC, Bennamo, Yega & Mr Soo
See our review of Bongo Flava – Swahili Rap from Tanzania and our feature on Who’s Who in Bongo Flava as well as The Evolution of East African Music
Lots of info and tracks featured on: www.funkdisaster.com
You can buy tracks on Calabash: Calabashmusic.com and Nomadic Wax: nomadicwax.com
World Swim for Malaria