Over the years, Tanzania has gone through quite a few changes in their music industry, shifting from traditional music, to modern hip hop, and the local spin known as Bongo Flava. Even though Bongo Flava has taken center stage over the recent years, other genres still play an important role in the Tanzanian music scene, like Mtindo and the Islamic-based Taarab. With such a diverse set of music and musicians in the area, it’s surprising that the world has taken this long to give due respect to Tanzanian musicians. Despite this delay, many Tanzanian pop stars are hitting the charts and getting world wide recognition as respectable, talented, and creative artists.
Bongo Flava Goes Viral
With artists like Diamond Plantinumz leading the modern Bongo Flava industry, and arguably one of the strongest symbols of today’s Tanzania, it’s no wonder that Bongo Flava has hit the world by storm.
But Bongo Flava isn’t new– in fact this form of hip hop first got started in the early 1980’s. Over the years, the music has changed quite a bit; modern artists have focused their lyrics on current news topics and regional struggles, making this art form another powerful platform for the people of Tanzania to stand up and make a statement.
Top Tanzanian Artists
While this list doesn’t include every up and coming artist, it does cover some of the biggest names in the Tanzanian music industry.
- Diamond Platinumz – a leading artist and music hero to many people in Tanzania, Diamond continues to struggle from the same criticism, struggles and media that most famous artists face, however despite his challenges he has continued to produce award winning music and performances.
- Jon Makini – both a rapper and successful businessman of the company Weusi, Jon has taken the world by storm with hit songs like Karibu Tena, Stinu Zimeliiwa, and Bei Ya Makaa, making him one of the most respected artists in the country.
- AY – born Ambwene Allen Yessayah, is one of Bong Flava’s original founding fathers and has been attributed to being the first Bongo artist to commercialize the art form. Starting his career back in 1996, AY is still recording and producing music for his fans today.
- Mwana Fa – has mastered the incorporation of his native language Swahili into the poetic and political flows leaving his fans star struck. Considered one of Tanzania’s brightest and rising stars, Mwana Fa has a shelf of awards and trophies for his recent musical contributions.
- Ommy Dimpoz – as a child prodigy performing at local weddings and parties, Ommy started out his singing career at the tender age of 10. But small venues were not his ultimate goal and over the years he has raised the Bongo Flava music scene through hits such as Baadae and Nai Nai.
As Tanzania continues to gain recognition in the music industry, more artists are inspired to pursue their dreams on the stage. The successes of Tanzania’s top artist show that we can only expect to see more great things from this budding musical country. Is the world ready for the creative genius that Tanzania has to offer?