Mlimani Park Orchestra – Barua Toka Kwa Mama
The ranks of the groups started expanding. What might’ve once been a three-piece trio expanded into a fourteen-piece “orchestra.” Qualified musicians were paid a monthly government salary, which meant fierce competition from itinerant tradesman used to gigging. The most famously bloated of these was Mlimani Park Orchestra, founded in the suburbs of Dar in 1978. Muhiddin Maalin, who had previously headed NUTA, was the George Clinton to this Parliament. The above track is their very finest, with a sunny upbeat melody and a great electric organ theme over a swing-influenced guitar line.
The song is over seven minutes long, and it doesn’t really get going ’til about the three-minute mark when the horns kick in. Then at the four-minute mark comes the instrumental break. It’s maybe the highlight of the entire command-economy musical experiment. No lie, it’s the jam: if you only bother to press play on one of these tracks, make it this one.
Mlimani Park Orchestra – Barua Toka Kwa Mama (intro)