Your Next Big Trip

9 of the Best Tanzanian Songs to Know Before you Go

Tanzanian Music

Want to get in the mood for your trip to Tanzania? I’ve compiled a list of the best Tanzanian songs to do just that!

I’m going to start this post with a full disclosure: I may have moved to Tanzania just for the music.

Well, not just for the music…..

I suppose for the dancing too. And the sun. And my job of course. But mostly the music!

See, just like Nigeria has its Naija music and Afrobeats, Tanzania -Dar es Salaam in particular-has it’s own style called Bongo Flava. Bongo Flava is like Tanzania’s answer to hip hop but of course with it’s own ‘Bongo’ style. Oh, and if you’re wondering, bongo comes from ubongo which means brain in Swahili. It is also a nickname of sorts for Dar es Salaam. The more you know!

Whether you are planning a safari in Tanzania, a beach break in Zanzibar, or just need some Swahili music in your life, these are the best Tanzanian songs to know before your trip.

Fire- Diamond Platnumz

Diamond is probably the biggest Tanzanian artist out there, so it makes sense to include his latest song first! Some of the best Tanzanian songs are by Diamond. Everyone knows who he is in Tanzania and beyond. If a phone rings during an office meeting, Diamond will most likely be the ringtone. Taking a taxi to the airport? Diamond will be on the radio. I also like his songs to help me learn Kiswahili. As a musical person, I definitely find it easier to remember a phrase once I’ve sung it!

Kisela- Vanessa Mdee

I had to include something from Tanzania’s biggest female artist. I decided to include her new song because it let’s me include one of my favourite non-Tanzanian artists- P-Square from Nigeria. It’s also just a nice chill song that I can realistically learn the words to without getting lost!

 

Musiki- Darassa (feat. Ben Pol)

There was a time when you couldn’t move in Dar es Salaam without hearing this song. The hype has died out a little but it is still pretty much guaranteed at some point of a night out in Tanzania.

 

Hasara Roho- Darassa

Proving he’s not a one hit wonder, Darassa came out with this song just as the Musiki hype was dying down. It’s not as much of a club hit but can still be heard on the streets of Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar. Plus it’s shot in Stone Town- one of my favourite places in Zanzibar.

Ollah- Christian Bella

I recently got stuck in a traffic jam on my way to the city centre (nothing unusual there!) A journey that should have taken 30 minutes took almost 2 hours. For the entire time my Uber driver played Christian Bella videos. He even managed to find one with an English translation. Similar to Diamond, Bella’s sings in clear Kiswahili, making him a great artist to listen to when learning.

 

Nana- Diamond Platnumz

If I can put two Darassa songs, I can also put two Diamond songs! This also has a bit of Swanglish for the non-Kiswahili speakers 😉

 

Kamatia- Navy Kenzo

This was one of the biggest songs of 2016. I visited Zanzibar in March 2016 for the full moon party (read about it here!) and every corner we turned, people were playing this song on their phones or radios. Of course it’s kind of old at this point, but I already told you this playlist is biased towards my holiday memories 😛

 

 

Mwana- Alikiba

Ok, it’s old. But this was out the first time I visited Tanzania and the video makes me want to dance so I’m including it!

Phone- Ben Pol

This one is fairly straightforward even if you don’t speak Kiswahili. Girl checks guys phone. Guy not happy. Tells her not to check his phone. End of. Enjoy!

Have I missed any of your favourites? Let me know!

 

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Tanzanian Music

 

18 thoughts on “9 of the Best Tanzanian Songs to Know Before you Go

  1. Rachelle

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard this type of music before, but I just love it! I think my favorite right off the bat is Nana, but all of them have a fun beat and make me want to dance. Isn’t it awesome how music can stir up so many memories?

    1. Cliodhna Post author

      Ok I loved Nana so much the first time I heard it. I’m actually going to see him in concert soon and I think I’ll just die lol. Such fun music 😀

  2. Ashley Smith

    What a unique post! I don’t know a thing about Tanzanian music but I watched all these videos and loved them all. Such a great way to get travelers in the mood for their trip! (And to remember it afterwards)

  3. Raymond Carroll

    Nice list. Always good to hear music from around the world. As a native English speaker, I – like most native English speakers – tend to stick with music and movies from English speaking nations – we miss out on so much from around the world because of this. Good post. thanks for sharing!

    1. Cliodhna Post author

      I totally agree. And you’d be surprised how much you can pick up in other languages just by listening to non-English music!

  4. Paroma Chakravarty

    I have been listening to Kamatia non stop for the 10th time! OMG this song is so addictive:-) I also got my husband to dance with me:-) I guess that is my Bollywood (Indian) roots talking. LOVE YOUR POST!!!

    1. Cliodhna Post author

      That’s hilarious! It’s such a good song to dance to though, and people really DANCE to it here. So great that your husband danced with you 😀

  5. Cat

    Thanks for the list! I’ve never heard any Tanzanian songs before so this is a great song list. I really like the light beats in Darassa’s Hasara Roho!

  6. My Travelogue by Bhushavali

    Tanzania’s stamp was the first ever international stamp I laid my hands on, so its very special to me! I really hope to visit Tanzania one day! And this is a beautiful compilation of Tanzanian songs. Gonna listen to it all!

  7. Seven Continents Sasha

    I love this, such a unique blog post. Music always brings back great memories, whenever I hear songs they remind me of certain countries and memories. Do you know ‘African Queen’ by 2 face Idibia? That song always reminds me of my time in Kenya. Kamatia sounds like my kind of song.

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