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The best kept secret in music


"Songbird Saida Karoli back in full steam"

Tuesday, November 08, 2005




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Publication Date: 7/23/2005
Despite not much having been heard of her in the recent, Tanzanian songbird Saida Karoli still remains a force to reckon with, especially with a new album out on the market.

Saida's latest 10 track album Mimi Nakupenda is gradually picking up and getting fairly good airplay on some FM stations in East Africa.

Known for blending folklore with modern beats, Saida is best remembered for her hit song Maria Salome (Mwenye wivu ajinyonge).

Maria Salome was a smasher about two years ago, with many other artistes even adopting the lift the phrases Mwenye Wivu Akinyonge and Kani Chambua Kama Karanga for their refrains.

Similarly, the song also enabled her to win an award for the Best Traditional Artiste during the Kilimanjaro Music Awards about three years ago.

Unlike the first album the beats on the new one are in the Ragga "Sasambua" style which appears to be the latest trend among most contemporary artistes.

Among the popular songs on the new album include Umbea, Fimbo ya Mbali and Kila Mwana damu ni Muhimu.

The new album produced by FM Productions is a follow up to Mapenzi Kizungu Kizungu, which was also a hit when Saida toured Kenya about two years ago.

She had remained in obscurity, up until FM Productions scouted her in Bukoba, during a search for talented Tanzanians that could be promoted.

Later only after only three weeks of recording in FM Studios, she had already set the Tanzanian music scene rocking with the launch of her debut album in September 2001.

Faced with stiff competition from other artistes from her home area of Bukoba, who are singing in the native Haya language, Saida has lately improved her beats.

- Daily Nation,Kenya

"Havana sojourn"

The Kora All Africa music awards celebration hits its 10th anniversary this year. One of the nominations for the top award for 2005 is the Tanzanian singer Saida Karoli, who sings in the Bahya language. I've heard a couple of songs by her and she has a wonderful voice. Look out for this great talent to emerge internationally very soon - Bangkok Post

"What is your favourite African song?"

What is your favourite African song?
Africa has produced many great artists and songs over the years but who is your favourite current artist and what is the best song?
My all time favourite singer must be Saida Karoli from northwest Tanzania .Her songs especially 'Maria salome' crossed boundaries and demonstrated how incredibly entertaining traditional African beats can be. She has the best voice and her songs have got the best rhythms.
- BBC News

"Tanzania Hall of Fame Awards goes to SAIDA KAROLI"

Tanzania recently held its first national music awards, the Kilimanjaro Premium Lager Tanzania Music Awards, sponsored by Kilimanjaro Premium Lager, Tanzania Breweries Limited's second largest brand.
Music enthusiasts thronged the event held at the Diamond Jubilee Hall, in central Dar es Salaam
"It is like the Kora Awards albeit on a smaller scale," said one man. Wanne Star entertained guests before the ceremony got underway with a show of traditional dances spiced up with acrobatics and fire eating. The response from the audience was electric.
From the hinterlands of Bukoba a lady with a powerful hypnotic voice, who took Tanzania and Uganda by storm last year, Ms Saida Karoli received two awards for her catchy song Maria Salome, which was nominated as Song of The Year and for the best traditional music album Chambua Kama Karanga. Ms Saida was recently swindled of her money by promoters in Uganda.

"Tanzania, Uganda singers launch albums in Nairobi"

By Wambui Mwangi
TANZANIA’S songbird Saida Karoli and Uganda’s Ambassador on Friday night launched new albums at Carnivore Simba Saloon RestaurantThe two albums ‘Yata’ meaning shine (Ambassador) and ‘Mimi Nakupenda’ (Saida) featured the world and distinct ways of life respectively.
Ambassador’s much acclaimed second CD was released on August 26 and has distinctively included youth issues and how to live sacred lives.
He said that the music would be of a great help to today’s youth and would challenge them to change ways and live by the word of God.
He and his band thrilled the crowd for one and half hours before the Tanzania’s songbird took the floor, which saw the gathering dance and cheer from mid night to early dawn.
Ambassador left the stage with his renowned “Inkanye Watoto Vifane” and “Ninatamani” which were punctuated by cheers and shouts from his fans.
Saida was accompanied by her band of five, which left revellers amazed by their unique dancing styles.
Being her second tour to Kenya, Saida said that she was pleased to have launched her CD in the country adding that Kenya is a country that has potential and gifted artists.
- Kenya Times

"Saida Karoli,The Tanzanian Songbird"

Viewing one of her video clips, one sees Saida Karoli with a young girl, who has a dancer's leg. Unknown to many is that the young girl is Saida's eldest daughter, Epines Mukalye, who like mother, has a passion for song and dance. Although she does not join the mother in her numerous tours of duty, she occasionally performs with the mother. Epines, 7, is the eldest in a family of three. The others are four-year old Fadhira and two-year old Joshua. Saida's husband, Josephat Joshua, however, hardly appears with the songbird but is the supportive spouse behind the scenes. He rarely accompanies the wife during her musical tours. But it is the support of this close family unit that has provided Saida with unfailing support that has seen her scale musical heights. "He has always encouraged me to work hard in my career and I can now see the fruits of that," said Saida during an interview on Thursday. The celebrated singer jetted into the county on Monday for a series of performances in Nairobi and Mombasa. In fact, it was through his encouragement that she composed her hit song Maria Salome. Similarly, Saida has been encouraging her daughter to carry on with music and dance, which the young girl likes. However, Saida says she has not been taking her on tours as she needs time to study. It is out of her belief in family values that she composed the popular Maria Salome, which roots for unity and tolerance among couples. "When I first sung the number, everyone was interested in it, hence it became my first choice the moment I started recording," she said. The song features sensational catch phrases likeWenye wivu wajinyonge and Kanichambua kama karanga. "I believe we need to eliminate discord and conflicts the families," she said. To promote family values, Saida has composed Kaisiki, which criticises women who either abandon or throw away their children. Through her songs, Saida has been able to blend both traditional and modern beats. And she proved her mettle during the shows in Nairobi – the first at the Splash on Wednesday night and the second at the Nyayo National Stadium on Thursday afternoon. The show at the Splash was graced with dignitaries, including the Tanzanian High Commissioner to Kenya Mirisho Sarakikya and the Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Dr Anna K. Tibaijuka. Dr Tibaijuka and Saida come from the same region. Also present was Nation Media Group's Chief Executive Wilfred Kiboro. The company is among the sponsors of Saida's tour. Other sponsors are Chancery Productions, Maskani Entertainers and Jawabu Salon. Despite the chilly weather during the two performances, fans were hooked by the titillating dances and exciting songs. She warmed up her fans with her lyrics, a blend of Haya, Luganda and Kiswahili. The most striking thing about Saida is her powerful, sharp and enticing voice which comes along with good articulation. No wonder, the fans were able to sing along with her. Whenever she stopped for a break, everyone kept asking for more – and she obliged. Rarely have visiting musicians given so much time to their audiences as Saida, a show of her simplicity and appreciation of her fans. To bolster her robust stage show was the sensational burly Big Mama (Teresia Paul), who was a major attraction. Adding spice to the shows was rap artist MC Benjamin. Also accompanying her was her manager and producer Felician Mutakyawa of the Dar es Salaam's FM Productions. To most fans his voice could be easily mistaken for his Ugandan counterpart Chameleone best known for his hit song Mama Mia. Her desire to sing of developments in the daily lifestyle have also seen her record the hit song Mukari wanje. Saida would have been more at home with a crowd that understands Luganda as during intervals she could break into Luganda saying about how "Buganda women care for their husbands". The songbird will be staging her final show this afternoon at the Mombasa ASK showground. Her simplicity is attributed to her humble upbringing in the village. About two years ago, Saida was a village woman in Bukoba on the shores of Lake Victoria. She never imagined she would be calling shots on the East African music scene. Speaking to Review on Thursday, Saida underscored the value of singing in her mother tongue. For her, this came too easy. Without good formal education, having dropped at grade five, she had few options other than singing in a language she knows best. But it was the inspiration she got from her late mother that set her on course for traditional music. "My mother was a singer and it is her who taught me how to sing in vernacular," she says. "Sometimes, I would accompany her for social functions, where she sung and through that, I was able to acquire the skills." Her mother died when she was only 12 years and has since learnt to struggle to live. "Life was not easy. We had to struggle to survive and luckily, we managed," she says. It was due to the difficulties that she had to drop out of school. She is the last born in a family of seven, five of whom have died. In Tanzania, Saida is currently highly rated as the leading proponents of traditional music. Last year she won an award for the most promising traditional musician during the Tanzania Music Awards. - The Guardian-Tanzania




1. Umbea
2. Mimi Nakupenda
3. Fimbo ya Mbali
4. Chambua kama Karanga Remix
5. Sweet Tanzania
6. Africa Tupendane
7. Engozi
8. Kila Mwanadamu ni Muhimu
9. Consolota
10. Engozi ppart II


1. Eiyembe (Ekikunila)
2. Ta Simeo
3. Kereme
4. Kereme (Club vers)
5. Jane
6. Rugema
7. Eiyembe Trad. vers
8. Dogo (Org vers)
9. Eiyembe
10. Harusi
11. Dogo Mix


1. Mapenzi kizungu
2. Ekitobero
3. Ntua Mayenje
4. Mukazi wange
5. Nkyali Muto
6. Akatambala - listen
7. Umukaile kilinjwi
8. Ekitobero - Disco Version
9. Dunia


1. Maria Salome
2. Bakuba baizile
3. Alimu atusile -
4.Kaisiki -
5. Ndombolo ya solo
6. Oli njoka ki ? - Part 1
7. Iyondo -
8. Oli njoka ki? Part - 2

1. Kitobero -
2. Chambua kama karanga -

saida Karoli has a well-crafted R&B single on the market: Mimi Nakupenda.

The song features popular bongo flava artist Banana Zoro with whom Karoli delivers a captivating and sentimental ballad in her lovely Haya-accented Kiswahili and penetrating mellow singing voice that has continued to earn her a place in the hearts of people of all ages and cultural backgrounds and has seen her jingle--Amka ee BBC ii mawe...kwa habari ii hiyo—aired on BBC Kiswahili Service every morning.

Mimi Nakupenda, that is also expected to be on her fourth album, is a jazzy R&B track in which the saxophone features prominently above the well arranged instrumentation marrying well with Karoli's female and Zoro's baritone.

Mimi Nakupenda is likely to please and appeal even non-Kiswahili speakers with Karoli's unique voice and crisp quality as she pledges her allegiance to her lover and questions the human heart in love. If this track is anything to go by, then it is clear that Karoli, the undisputed queen of Tanzanian folk music, has great potential and can sing just about any genre. It is in the top of the charts in Tanzania and appears on several Bongo Flava compilation albums in East Africa. When released, Mimi Nakupenda will be Karoli's fourth album.
Popular in East and Central Africa, Karoli has performed in mainland Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo-Kinshasa, and Zanzibar Island where she is almost idolised by fans.

Although she sings predominantly in Kihaya, her penetrating mellow vocals readily connect her even with people who do not understand the language of the musician born and brought up in Rwongwe village where Felician Mutta, her manager and producer, discovered, prepared, and ushered her onto the stage of music.

© 2005 Fm Productions all right reserved
FM ARTISTSSaidaKalalaBob HaisaWanne


Feeling a bit camera shy



Born: 1976, Bukoba, Tanzania.
Welcome into our journey with Saida Karoli, a songbird from Tanzania in East Africa. Tanzania is popularly known as the country of KILIMANJARO, the roof of Africa.
Saida Karoli’s mellow voice is so captivating that when blended with African musical instruments emerges an ultimate repertoire of the most unique African music and dance.
This voice from Kilimanjaro has enabled Saida Karoli to give rapturous performances whenever she performs

This singer, composer, dancer and drummer has become a well-known music figure all over East Africa. Her status as a star is justified by her unique artistic talent, her mellow singing voice and the success of her songs over such a short period of time.

As a child Saida's culture did not permit girls to sing and play drums. She lived in the small village of Rwongwe in the town of Bukoba in the western side of Lake Victoria in northern Tanzania. Her mother who was also a musical figure in the village encouraged Saida and taught her the essentials of music. Lacking support from her drunken father, Saida went to school until grade 5 only. At the age of 20, following the death of her mother and continued criticisms Saida still continued doing what she knows do to best - make music.

When one of FM Studios' departments involved in a talent search went looking for a talented Tanzanian to promote, it came across Saida Karoli in the town of Bukoba. After only three weeks of recording in FM Studios, the young village girl that nobody knew, suddenly exploded on the 2nd of September 2001 after the launching of her first album. All those in Tanzania felt the heat. Soon her music would conquer Uganda and Kenya with her irresistible tunes. Following the launch of her first album, one of Saida's songs titled Maria Salome stormed into the Radio One (a famous local station covering the whole of Tanzania) top ten, taking the 3rd position. The following week the song jumped straight into the top position and remained there for six consecutive weeks.

Among her great hits are also Kaisiki (a song that talks about mothers who throw away or abandon their children) and Ndombolo. By December 2001 Saida Karoli was selected to entertain the Ugandan King, The Kabaka of Buganda, Ronald Muwenda, during an annual Ugandan festival. In the invitation she was decribed as "an accomplished African Musician" who is " no doubt the most popular African musician in Uganda" and was voted by the "organising committee of this festival as the musician of the year." She sings predominantly in Kihaya - the language of the Haya tribe in Tanzania and sometimes in Kiswahili. However, even those who do not understand this language have been touched by her unique voice and the quality of her music. Her sources of inspiration are social values and the rural culture of Tanzania and that of its neighboring countries, plus the condition of human society.