Photographer's Note

Jambo Bwana in brief
Year released: 1982 (but it was written two years earlier)
Singer: Them Mushrooms, a band from Kenya
The song was created in 1979 when the band leader, Teddy Harrison, was performing in a hotel in Mombasa. At the time, the band was playing covers of European hits to entertain the tourists vacationing on the Kenyan coastline. One night, while taking a break between two songs, he heard tourists trying to speak Swahili and practicing words like Jambo, Habari gani, and Hakuna matata. That gave him the idea to write a song with simple phrases in Swahili, which would help visitors learn the language while dancing to the band’s music.
The song was such a huge success that the band had to play it 20 times per night, until eventually they were offered the opportunity to record it. It became widely popular in Kenya and Tanzania, reaching platinum status in just five years.
Jambo – Hi
Jambo bwana – Hi sir!
Habari gani? – How are you?
Mzuri sana – Very fine
Wageni mwakaribishwa – Visitors are welcome
Kenya yetu – Our [country] Kenya
Hakuna matata – [There are] no worries.

We were on a small island of Kwale in the restaurant (delicious fish and frutti di mare). I saw nearby a group of musicians and a dancer. The didn't play and sing especially well, but I like the movements of the dancer. And look at the instrument behind her. I have never seen anything like this.

But to write about music and dance? Better hear and watch.

On the map:6°22'31.3"S 39°17'04.4"E

Probably I will no need ki suahili anymore, but the grammar is so fascinating that I will probably continue learning.

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Additional Photos by Malgorzata Kopczynska (emka) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 12973 W: 137 N: 33601] (153412)
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