4 June

John Kijiko & Atomic Jazz Band — Na Tucheze Pachanga Vol. 3 (year/label unknown)


Having come to this album courtesy of the most excellent Awesome Tapes from Africa, I must first and foremost offer a profound thanks. This is one of the most uplifting and solidly solid set of tunes my dear ears have ever stumbled onto. Tanzania’s Atomic Jazz Band play with soul and pomp and are an absolute pleasure to listen to. Having seen its musical landscape altered following the importation of various guitar records in the early 1950s, many parts of East African underwent what musicologist Gerhard Kubik identifies as “the process of re-Africanisation of imported Afro-American kinds of music.” Drawing influence from the aforementioned imports and from the new musics discovered and brought back by Tanzanian soldiers serving away from home during the Second World War, groups like Atomic Jazz Band proliferated and forged “neo-tradtional” forms of music throughout Tanzania and East African in the immediate decade following the war. [1] Again, while my personal exposure to this particular album is fairly recent, it evokes a sense of sublime nostalgia: I first heard these songs at the tail end of winter and distinctly recall driving in my car with the sun shining on my face, the window down, brisk January air skipping through the window as Atomic Jazz Band ripped through an untouchable set of jams. While the details on this recording are a bit scarce, I can safely say that the combination of Swahili vocals, rollicking brass, rumba rhythms, and joyous melodies make these cuts a treat to listen to. If you don’t already know it, get over to the Awesome Tapes from African webpage (linked above) and check it out as quickly as possible.

[1] Gerhard Kubik “Neo-Traditional Popular Music in East Africa Since 1945” in Popular Music,
Vol. 1, Folk or Popular? Distinctions, Influences, Continuities (1981), p. 93

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