Monday, 15 December 2014

SAIDI KANDA's NEW ALBUM BRINGS OUT AN UNSUNG HERO...


How long does it take to notice a unique artist?
Good question.
Saidi Kanda promotes his new album Ambush at Rich Mix , East London in November 2014. On his left is singer Fab Moses, whose participation in Kanda's performances is significant.
Pic by F Macha

Our lives are not as unkind as a 1960s T shirt used to say, i.e. cruel world. But the music industry is a tough trek. We have to like and believe in what we do. Just like Musician Saidi Kanda, 
who has been around for as long as I can remember. 
I recall visiting the late musician Remmy Ongala (above) at one of the clubs he performed regularly in Dar es Salaam Tanzania. It was 1983. Then prodigy percussionist  Saidi Kanda was only 21 and already playing with the legend. I was burning and eager to write about Ongala who I felt was not getting due credit for his amazing music and input into international culture. My efforts to pen articles in my then column with the weekly Sunday News, belched something else. Journalism was not enough. I felt I had to write a book about Remmy Ongala's life. I started right away...

 
My reporter days. While working at Uhuru newspaper (middle above, 1978), we called musician  Remmy Ongala, "doctor" for his amazing, humorous social message. Saidi played with him and definitely is was re enforced and inspired by Dr Ongala's sense of humour and professionalism. Pic by Khatibu Ally.


Two years later Ongala's authorised biography was published by Stanley International, who unfortunately died in 1987. Saidi Kanda performed, recorded and toured with Ongala until 1997 when Ongala stopped touring. The star died  December 2010.

Right now I feel the same about Saidi Kanda, who lives in Brighton for decades. 

Kanda plays Edungu the traditional fiddle of the Kurya tribe from Mara region Tanzania. 

Born to a musical family at the historic,   coastal town of  Bagamoyo, east coast Tanzania in 1962, Kanda grew around his grandmother Bi Mwavita a great singer who influenced and inspired him. So important is the legendary maternal ancestor, that Kanda has dedicated track 6 of his new  album Ambush  to her. 
Kanda promoting Ambush CD with his lead singer, Fab Moses (left) at Passing Clouds....


Having listened to the album, watched him perform with star- musicians  Koffi OlomidePapa Wemba,  Kawele "Finger printer" Mutimanwa... heard and seen audiences going crazy watching this son of Africa...I feel Kanda (like most unsung heroes) deserve a chance.  He is excellent. If not why would the amazing Grace Jones include him in her projects? Saidi was in the studios recently with the creative star. Jazz  saxophonist Alan Skidmore, has hired him too.
There is alot you can say about someone. But you may not say it all. Please catch abit by listening, enjoying and seeing the links and pictures below.


 One of my favourite tunes of Remmy Ongala is "Nasikitika" (I feel sad) which the late singer- songwriter talks deeply about The unkindness of Life. Recorded in 1989 ,  you may see the power, craft and talent of Saidi Kanda's Congas and  percussion, HERE.... 



 In 2001, Kanda participated in my single Kilimanjaro  through Congas. Saidi was professional always coming to appointments half an hour before appointments. His working enthusiasm is ever flowing. You may hear his chuckles and zealousness as he solos HERE....


Saidi not only plays multiple instruments or live music. He is also involved in films.  Recently he has been involved with Film Legacy and the project about first African American film maker, Oscar Micheaux...Please click HERE...


Author with Saidi Kanda at Rich Mix after a joint gig, December 2014.
Pic by Nathaniel Bagot Sealey
 

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