My feet followed the pull of a collection of sounds to Marafiki Night Live, held every first Thursday of the month at the Slow Leopard Bar & Restaurant in Dar es Salaam.
It was, however, the second Thursday of November: Marafiki Night Live this month marks one year since its inception so it held two events.
On this night, I met artists like sculptress “Big Mama” (Mwandale Mwanyekwa), afro jazz singer and culture entrepreneur Sauda Simba as well as photographer Calvin Kulaya and fashion designer Dorothy Mhina.
The show is produced by Weka Music Records.
“We put together this gig so as to introduce live authentic Tanzanian music to a wider audience in the city. A lot of the artists featured here aren’t logged onto the mainstream music wagon.
Marafiki Night Live allows them to thrive in their own back yards,” said Isack Abeneko, one of the executives behind the event and a performer this evening.
Over the past year, Marafiki has hosted several musicians including Jhikoman, Ze Spirit Band, Chi, Chikaya-D, Remi & the Cocodo Band, Hilary More, Wamwiduka Band, Swahili Ally and Leo Mkanyia.
Before Abeneko got on stage, his band serenaded us. Said Makelele was on the trumpet creating an afro-jazz ambience. He is the oldest in the band with experience from as far back as the 1980’s.
Shabo Makota was on the lead guitar with Kikombe Membe on the drumset and Chudo creating rhythm with his djembe cuts. On the base guitar, Balam brought the sound home. Abeneko then came on stage accompanied by his backup singer Upendo Manase.
Speaking of their future plans, Abdallah Membe, part of Marafiki’s production team, said, “We are very encouraged by the support from the music community as well the audience. Given that we’re not supported by any funding save gate collection, we see room for improvement and are looking to do bigger things next year, like visit other regions or even run a festival.”
If you’re ever in the city of Dar es Salaam on the first Thursday of the month, be sure to pass by.