Thursday, March 22, 2007

Details and dancing in "64"

The Kenyan town of Eldoret has the unique boast that it was founded by Afrikaaners - white farmers who did not stop their journey from the British controlled Cape Colony until reaching close to Lake Victoria. The town was originally known as 64, because it was established at the 64th mile post on the wagon route from Londiani.

Tim, who has lovingly compiled the next set of African Serenades, explains: "I taught near Eldoret for two years in the early 1980s, fell in love with the music and then found that my Zigzag-reading, album-sleeve-obsessive completist's mindset was completely turned upside down because, of course, none of the friends I made - and who guided me towards the records I have sent you - cared about who was responsible for that amazing guitar solo or impassioned vocal on individual songs. All they were concerned about was "Can you dance to it?" Which isn't a bad take on things when it comes
down to it."

So without further ado here are two killer sets of Congolese inspired Kenyan singles.

01. Tshiku Pt 1 - Orchestra Les Noirs
02. Tshiku Pt 2 - Orchestra Les Noirs
03. Pamela Pt 1 - Orchestra Les Wanyika
04. Pamela Pt 2 - Orchestra Les Wanyika
05. Virunga Pt 1 - Orchestra Virunga
06. Virunga Pt 2 - Orchestra Virunga
07. Na Bimaka Pt 1 - Orchestra Super Mazembe
08. Na Bimaka Pt 2 - Orchestra Super Mazembe
09. Koleta Pt 1 - Orchestra Super Volcano
10. Koleta Pt 2 - Orchestra Super Volcano
11. Fifi Pt 1 - Orchestra Shika Shika
12. Fifi Pt 2 - Orchestra Shika Shika
13. Joka Pt 1 - Mwenge Jazz Band
14. Joka Pt 2 - Mwenge Jazz Band
15. Akamba Pt 1 - Orchestra Viva Makele
16. Akamba Pt 2 - Orchestra Viva Makele

01. Yo-Mabe Pt 1 - Orchestra Super Mazembe
02. Yo-Mabe Pt 2 - Orchestra Super Mazembe
03. Amua Pt 1 - Orchestra Les Mangelepa
04. Amua Pt 2 - Orchestra Les Mangelepa
05. Kajituliza Pt 1 - Orchestra Les Wanyika
06. Kajituliza Pt 2 - Orchestra Les Wanyika
07. Ole Ole Pt 1 - Orchestra Les Mangelepa
08. Ole Ole Pt 2 - Orchestra Les Mangelepa
09. Paulina Wanje Pt 1 - Butere Sharpshooters
10. Paulina Wanje Pt 2 - Butere Sharpshooters
11. Celibataire Pt 1 - Orchestra Baba National
12. Celibataire Pt 2 - Orchestra Baba National
13. Shika Shika Pt 1 - Orchestra Shika Shika
14. Shika Shika Pt 2 - Orchestra Shika Shika
15. Mokili Pt 1 - Orchestra Mos Mos
16. Mokili Pt 2 - Orchestra Mos Mos

Update from Tim (Sat 24 March):
"I was also a long way out in the sticks at Lelmokwo, a village with no electricity and one shop. The nearest bar, at Mutwot, entailed a five-mile walk each way and we rarely made it into Eldoret. When we did, the town's one nightclub, the Olympic, owned by Kipchoge Keino, favoured Western music, which inevitably meant Boney M, Abba and Motown. The one record stall was by the bus station and sold cigarettes and sweets as well as a few records.

"I saw a couple of bands while I was there, but both were strange occasions. Super Mazembe played at the Eldoret Agricultural Show, erecting a bamboo fence around the area where they were to play - no stage, just an awning - and charging 10KSh entrance. Since it was daytime, there was very little atmosphere and the impression was of a band just jamming and jamming, with a heavy rotation of players. Soe one who play drums for half an hour or so and then just get up wander off and someone else would take over.

"The other band I saw was the Maroon Commandos, who were much tighter and slicker and put on a show. Unfortunately, it was at a local army base, so the audience consisted of about 500 soldiers, a truckload of women, who had been rather reluctantly bused in from local bars, and me."


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Like all the best music, these took time to grow on me. They are on repeat constantly now.

Thanks Tim. And Matsuli

Anonymous said...

Tim, this is great stuff! For people interested in finding out more about the artists and recordings, go here:

Steve said...


Gentlemen, you have truly outdone yourselves with this compilation!

Thank you.

- Steve

Anonymous said...

Ditto ditto Tim and Matt for a great set! - thank you to all contributors for making this site something special. Chris Albertyn

Anonymous said...

sorry... i can't listen... i hate sendspace...

Anonymous said...


I've been going through all the tracks with an audio editor (I use DC 6), trying to mesh together Pts. 1 & 2 before I burn them to disk. Sometimes the producers were thoughtful enough to provide 20 secs. or so overlap between Sides 1 & 2, so I can make a seamless transition. Usually, though, I fade down the last 5 secs. or so of Pt. 1 & fade up the first 5 secs of Pt. 2, hook them together and the switch is noticeable but very quick.

Anyway, I was working on Pts. 1 & 2 of "Mokili" from AS 45 and it seems like they're the same thing!

Was there a mistake made in the pressing of the record, or was there perhaps a mistake made when you were digitizing or uploading the two sides?

It seems a quibble since the music is so great otherwise but would it be possible to get the missing Part 2, if it exists?

vagabond kiwi said...

thanks again for some wonderful music, like you I had the fortune to visit Africa, hopefully will get back sometime-a bit like folks who have been to Indian , there's a love/hate thing- but its always definitely rewarding, a for those in a western funk - its a great place to go, to change your outlook/perspective.- if you travel in less frequented places for any length of time prepare great highs & lows ( perhaps illness )

Anonymous said...

Great stuff. I coul listen to this kind of thing all day.

Anonymous said...

... and Mbaraka with Super Volcano popping up in the middle has just made it!

Anonymous said...

gee baby, ain't you good to us!

barryology said...

Thanks for this East African Rumba. I was wondering about musicians on Mwenge Jazz. I have read on a Wanyika discography that Simba Wanyika's original saxophonist, Luisa Elias John, went to play with Mwenge Jazz. Is he the saxo on this? Is their other stuff this good--ah that Tanzanian flavor!

zim said...


two great compilations - thanks for these

I can't answer your question about the saxophonist for mwenge jazz but you can hear a low-fi version of some of their music here:

Anonymous said...

it appears African Serenades Vols. 41, 42, 44, 45 via sendspace are no longer available. re-post possible? thank you for your efforts. it's been quite the musical education. cheers.

Anonymous said...

The serenades are a wonderful collection.unfortunately i cannot download them ! please repost them again.

Anonymous said...

I am just new and i missed out on this . can you please repost it?

Anonymous said...

I just found out about your site but unfortunatly missed the African Serenades, wonderful sounds would you be kind enough to upload them again. another great sound I would request you to upload is shauri yako by nguashi ntimbo.these sounds bring back the 80's in true colors.

Anonymous said...

Would you please re-post the African Serendes and the other one with the 'Pamela' hit? I missed it and I would love to listen to these oldies.

Anonymous said...

Would you please re-post the African Serendes PLEASE PLEASE!!!!