Ahmed Kipande was born in Kilwa Kivinje in the year 1937 and after the passing of his mom, his father moved to Dar es Salaam where Ahmed started his education by joining Uhuru all-male school located at Kariakoo, Dar es Salaam. He studied there up to standard 4. During his stages of growth, he was able to listen to different types of music and also got the chance to listen to vinyl records known as GV which had music from Cuba. He also started listening to musicians from East Africa such as Fundi Konde. He then was motivated to become a musician himself.
The GV vinyl records became popular in so many parts of Africa and propelled the rooting of contemporary music in Africa to date. Even today some of the GV songs continue to pop up in the current generation of music and continues to become popular, for instance the song Sawa Sawa Saware is one off the GV which was also known as Peanut Vendor.
With the motivation that he got, Kipande started teaching himself to play different instruments including guitar, ukulele, banjo and violin and eventually saxophone which give him immense popularity. In 1953 Kipande joined Tanganyika Jazz as a violinist. Tanganyika Jazz was a privately owned band during that time when music was merely recreational and skills builder for the artists as opposed to it being a career or source of income. The band had the following instruments: guitars, violin, drums, trumpet and saxophone. The band was led by Zimbe Kidasi and the headquarters were located in New Street area around Lumumba neighborhood.
Kilwa Jazz Band
In 1958 he decided to own a band and that’s where Kilwa Jazz Band was born. He then bought a saxophone, guitars and made his own drums, during that period, drums were made using barrels. At that time, the bands which were already in existence in Dar include Homeboys Jazz Band, Dar es Salaam Jazz band and Cuban Marimba Branch, this was the Morogoro Cuban Marimba branch in Dar. The band had many branches which I recently have gathered information about including the Kilosa Branch (more info is being collected).
One of his first artists was Mr. Zuberi Makata who was taught by Kipande how to play the sax. The band played different styles of music such as rumba, samba bolelo and chacha. It became very popular due its good compositions some of which inspired the call for independence in 1961 at the National Stadium.
The 60’s and 70’s
The headquarters of Kilwa Jazz Band were at the corner of Jangwani and Mhoro streets. Some of the musicians who played for this band around 1960s and 1970s are: –
– Ahmed Kipande the group leader, vocalist, songwriter and saxophonist
– Zuberi Makata, Juma Town, Kisi Rajabu (saxophone)
– Duncan Njilima and Hassan Shabani ‘Kichwa’ [Kipande’s brother] (solo)
– Juma Mrisho aka Ngulimba wa Ngulimba, Kassim Mapili together with Kipande (vocals)
– Abdul Ngatwa played the Rhythm guitar, Abdallah Kanjo played tom toms. For so long the band got a lot of assistance from the Minister at that time Mr. Nangwanda Lawi Sijaona, who did a lot to help music because even the female band Women Jazz Band and also Vijana Jazz all have a history of being funded by this man.
Ahmed Mohammed Kipande passed away in April 27th 1987 and was put to rest the next day at the Tandika Mguruwe graveyard.