DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra


Since their formation in 1978 Mlimani Park Orchestra have always been one of Tanzania's most popular bands, easily verified by audience turnouts and radio airplay. 40 years on, Mlimani Park Orchestra are still at the top when it comes to Tanzanian muziki wa dansi.

The band set out with a bang when some of the principal musicians of the then leading bands like Nuta Jazz and Dar es Salaam Jazz Bands got together in 1978 to form the new house band of Mlimani Park Bar -  hence the group’s name.

Mlimani have cooed their way into the hearts of Tanzanians with an endless string of hits sung and composed by the likes of Hassani Bitchuka, Muhiddin Maalim Gurumo, Cosmas Chidumule and Shaaban Dede. In Tanzania the first and foremost way of appreciating a song is usually through its lyrics. Mlimani are famous for their themes and the intricate poetry delivered by their lead singers. Intelligent and topical lyrics are a regular feature in Swahili music, however, it is really Mlimani's instrumental sounds – the interplay of their guitars and finely honed horn arrangements that are their trademark, qualifying them as one of Africa's outstanding bands.

In Tanzanian muziki wa dansi songs the first part is usually slow, giving the audience the chance to savour the lyrics. In the second part the heat builds up with interchanges between vocals and horn sections, finally giving way to irresistible rhythms and pure melodic invention by the guitar players. Mlimani's performances are usually tumultuous affairs, with dancers going wild and the audience all over the stage slapping appreciative tunzo (tips, banknotes) onto the musicians' sweaty foreheads.


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Profile added by Claire Metais on 01 Nov 2022