An introduction to "Maestro Supreme"

Guitarist and singer Ndala Kasheba first came to Tanzania with Fauvette, a band from Congo in 1964. He was active in the Dar es Salaam scene ever since then. In the 1970’s he led the famous “Orchestra Safari Sound”.  He then created his own group “Zaita Musica” all the while maintaining  A list status in Tanzania.   Ndala Kasheba passed away in 2004.  In Dar es Salaam he is still known as Maestro Supreme. 

"A big pengo, a gap, an emptiness still remains in the lives of this family, fans and fellow musicians that has not been filled.  He would explain, "Ndala in Tanzania means sandals, like the ones you wear t the bathroom - everybody has a pair close to them - so it means everybody has my music in their heart.  My spirit resonates to Ndala".

He was a self taught musician.  In fact he even had his own tuning.  In an interview shortly before he died, he explained, "other guitarists are tuning in E.  Me, I am tuning in D.  My open number is D."  He didn't handle a guitar until he was twelve.  By the time he was 17 his name as a guitar player started to spread. His father gave him his blessing - "if you can provide the best of yourself you will be a good artist, you'll be respected, you'll get a name and be popular.  Go ahead.  Music is a nice profession, but be smart because all those people who are going to see you are very smart.  When you are walking, look straight forward, because people are watching you, because you are a star and you have a name.  Go forward, because if you turn to watch them, you will fall.  Take my words my son, go ahead, good luck.  Kwisha."  Kasheba followed his fathers advice - he provided the best of himself and the rest followed"

- Muhidin Issa Michuzi, Friday, October 21, 2005 - click to read the full article

Ndala Kasheba Albums

Ndala Kasheba, Yellow Card

"Yellow Card" was Mzee Kasheba's last album.  It contains some of his most famous hits, including Dezo Dezo, Marashi ya Pemba and Nimlilie Nani.  The title track, "Kadi ya Njano" or Yellow Card, is a Mzee's scathing commentary on the media and the perception it creates.

At one point in his life, Mzee fell prey to a prolonged illness which rendered him unable to make his weekly performances or put out albums.  The media proclaimed that he was finished.  They decreed that he had become a weak shell of the great maestro they had all come to love. 

Maestro Ndala Kasheba was always known for his sharp wit, both musically and lyriclly, and "Kadi ya Njano" was Mzee's uncompromising reprimanded of all those who wrote him off in his time of struggle and doubt.

 "......... he's what guitar paradise is made of even though that heavenly collection passed him by. Definitive is the 12-string acoustic he cradles in both photos. Sustaining is gentle singer Baziano Bweti, who died in 2002 preaching AIDS education. Of good cheer are King Malou's perky alto themes on "Massamba" and the super-collectible "Kokolay." Also nice are the clicks, the claps, the coro. You believe in staying positive? East African soukous is still writing the book. A MINUS Consumer Guide by Robert Christgau Eating Again June 2nd, 2003 2:30 PM

Refugees by Ndala Kasheba

Ndala Kasheba spent more than thirty years as a refugee.  This CD single's title track expresses Mzee's hopes for the youth, for his grandchildren and the world that they create. Mzee Kasheba is joined by Delphin Mununga  and children from YCIC, a Dar es Salaam organization working with abandoned children for the chorous - "liberty, peace and tranquility....."

The original footage for the music video was shot by Ranjiv Kapour in our home in Dar es Salaam.  Director Manny Marquez came up with the idea of mounting a projector onto onto a car window and beaming the footage onto the tent cities, set up every night by the 100,000 + homeless population of Los Angeles.  The result is a poetic visual expression which illustrates the common hurdles all nations face in working towards realizing equality and dignity for all.



Kasheba at Mixer