BIOGRAPHY | Segere Original Traditional Group from Tanzania

There are not many bands whose music has been so pervasive that a new genre has been named after them. Such is the case with Young Stars’ Segere - the 2001 hit song that lent its name to both the style and also the band.
Segere is especially noteworthy for its fast rhythms, directly descending from Zaramo cultural traditions. As such it has similarities with mchiriku. Whereas the latter uses a mix of Zaramo ngoma drums with a small Casio keyboard as the sole lead instrument, Segere's sound is heavier with Tony Karama's bass guitar taking the lead role from the msondo drum, and drummer Abdallah Ng'onda's lively drum set propels the band to ever increasing frenzies. The ensemble sound is carried by solo guitarist Mjusi Shemboza, and marimba player Hamisi Nyamula. Boniface Kachale's trumpet adds a beni brass flavor.
Sadly, Segere's original lead singer Fatuma Rajab passed away in 2013. Her inimitable voice had come to incarnate the Segere vocal sound with hits such as Domo la UpawaIntumwa and Segere No. 2. To ‘replace’ her proved to be almost impossible, with literally dozens of singers passing through auditions and occasional performances. After many tribulations finally in 2016 the band crossed paths with Maryam Uwesu, the only voice so far with enough gravitas to stand with the band's fiery rhythm.
The Segere sound would not be complete without Madobe, second voice and comparable to a rapper or toaster, improvising ever new lines of commentary on the songs or persons in the audience.
Segere's search for a new female singer and vocal alternatives also led to a new direction in the band's sound. Still without a lead singer at one of their Dar es Salaam shows, Segere played some of their fast-paced instrumentals. Young singeli singer Elisha John was in the audience. He leapt on stage and Segere-Singeli was born, the first time singeli was performed with a live band.
Singeli is the latest Bongo youth music craze, originally invented by DJs who speed up the break sections of modern taarab songs for wild action on the dance floor. From there it evolved into a studio beat produced genre, yet Segere Original are the first to actually play this ridiculously fast genre with a live band.
Expect nothing short of a riot on the dance floor!

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