All Things Kenyan

The Rough Guide to The Music of Kenya and Tanzania

Title:Rough Guide – Music of Kenya and Tanzania
Artist: Various
Listening Time: 72 minutes 46 seconds
Original Release Date: 1996
Distributed By: World Music Network

What I Liked:
This is truly a cross section of styles across East Africa.  Included are two songs of Islamic taarab inspiration.  Although one doesn’t immediately think of Asian music as East African.  There is a large population of Asians in East Africa and of course, their influence will be felt musically.  It’s interesting to hear Swahili lyrics with this style of music.

Some songs like Likuta Bibi by Henry Makobi are fairly simplistic while others are more polished such as Esiesi Siolle by Abana Ba Nasery and Mtindo Wa Mombasa by Zein Musical Party.

One song, Vunja Mifupa by Samba Mapangala is of the style one would hear around Kenya in the early 1990’s – the time I was living there.  You could hear this infectious fast paced music blaring from matatus all over the country.

The liner notes are quite good.  They give a quick biography of each group.  Which members left which groups and formed other groups – members of the Wanyika bands were famous for this.

What I Didn’t Like:
The liner notes for this CD were not clear as to which songs were from Kenya and which were Tanzanian.  That’s something I’d would have like to have known.

One song I didn’t care for was Track 6 – Henry Makobi: Likuta Bibi. It doesn’t seem to be well recorded and I found the music and lyrics to be almost annoying.  To be fair, I believe I first heard the song when I had a headache and I haven’t liked it since.  There are much better songs on this CD than that one anyway.

This compact disc is a music sampling of the various styles of music found in Kenya and Tanzania. Familiar artists on include: Abana Ba Nasery, Simba Wanyika, and the Victoria Kings.

If you aren’t familiar with East African music, I recommend purchasing this CD.  The variety of music on is excellent and makes it a good album to start you collection with.

A review copy of The Rough Guide to The Music of Kenya and Tanzania was provided by the publisher free of charge.