Tanga Music

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Snippets from the Past           

by James Mgaya

 Saturday evenings became alive with local dances at several places. During my boyhood, in the early forties, there used to be two dancing groups, formed by workers from the Harbours Authority and the Railways Authority, that went by the name of Pwani and Loco, respectively. The two separate groups would meet at their usual dancing arena, which was then near the then Liwali’s Baraza at street No. 9, where is now a CCM branch office. There they used to exhibit their dancing and singing in competition against each other; as they respectively exalted their kind of work while slighting the other’s.

 As for European music, the most popular then was a brass band formed by trumpeters of the Wasambaa tribe, who had been brought together by one Makata Shekue. They had a club at street no. 13 near the African sports Club. Other musicians of fame included an elderly Goan saxophonist called Fereira. There were also others who quite mastered the guitar; those included Sururu, late Francis Hariri and late Henry Mdimu among others. In later years there emerged other bands of fame such as the Atomic Jazz Band and the jamhuri Jazz Band. In Taarab music, Tanga had at one time been on the map with bands like Black Star and the Lucky Star, which had produced singers of fame like Shakira.

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