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!
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 😛
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!