Dar es Salaam's monthly party The Beat Festival will treat fans to a taste of great Tanzanian music on Friday 1 April at the Paparazzi Bistro Club, where the legendary DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra (aka Sikinde), the Mopao Jazz Trio and reggae artists Kifimbo and Black Fit are expected to perform.
DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra, popularly known as Sikinde, is arguably one of the greatest Tanzanian dance bands of all time. Although the group was first formed in 1978, they embody the sound of independence, which took place in Tanzania in 1961, because the founding members came from the pre-independence groups such as the Dar es Salaam Jazz Band and the workers' union ensemble OTTU Jazz Band. While many of the older orchestras in Tanzania have lost or replaced their founding members, DDC Mlimani Park is perhaps the oldest orchestra to still perform with most of their founding members. On Friday they will perform classic Tanzanian rumba, led by the charismatic lead singer Hassan Bichuka.
Fronted by jazz guitarist Emmanuel Abraham Mopao, the Mopao Jazz Trio is steadily becoming one of the authorities of the Dar es Salaam jazz scene. Towards the end of last year, Emmanuel released his first solo album and toured with his trio as the opening act for Mzungu Kichaa's tour of Germany and Denmark. He is a self-taught and hard-working musician, inspired by Africanj stars such as Jimmy Dludlu and Hugh Masekela, as well as the American jazz standards. His performances rely heavily on improvisation, so his upcoming show should offer is a rare treat for Dar es Salaam jazz enthusiasts.
Kifimbo's uptempo songs are expected to get fans dancing the night away. Originally from Dar es Salaam and currently based in Bagamoyo, Kifimbo is highly regarded in the Tanzanian reggae scene for his energetic stage show.
Black Fit (born Hussein Badru Hussein) started his music career in 1995. He gained experience through participating in local street festivals, for example the Makumbusho Village Museum's Ya Kale yanapokutana na ya sasa (when the old meets the new) festival in 2007, where he was awarded the third prize. After years of hard work he managed to record his debut album, Harakati za Mweusi, in 2014. More recently Black Fit has been studying at Music Mayday on a scholarship, perfecting his skills in both performance and self-management during their two-year music programme.
The Beat is hosted by Mzungu Kichaa's Caravan Records and supported by the local Goethe-Institut. Doors open at 8pm local time. Tickets cost 10 000 Tanzanian Shillings (about $4.50). For more details visit The Beat's Facebook page.