A study of Dar es Salaam’s music business, from production and broadcasting to live performances in clubs.
When socialism collapsed in Tanzania, the government-controlled music industry gave way to a vibrant independent music scene. Alex Perullo explores the world of the bands, music distributors, managers, and clubs that attest to the lively and creative music industry in Dar es Salaam. Perullo examines the formation of the city’s music economy, considering the means of musical production, distribution, protection, broadcasting, and performance. He exposes both legal and illegal strategies for creating business opportunities employed by entrepreneurs who battle government restrictions and give flight to their musical aspirations. This is a singular look at the complex music landscape in one of Africa’s most dynamic cities.
“This isn’t just a book about Tanzanian popular music. It’s a compendium of everything one could wish to know and more about Dar es Salaam’s performance life, and an ethnographic tour de force that offers an insider’s trip to the sweaty heart of an African capital’s music scene, without having to go there. The social economy of post-independence Dar es Salaam is painstakingly interwoven into an account of every style, trend, and movement in the city’s imaginative life from every angle. Perullo’s achievement will set the standard for studies of popular culture in urban East Africa for decades to come.” —David B. Coplan, University of the Witwatersrand
“The extensive research for this book provides valuable insight into Tanzanian culture. Live from Dar es Salaam discusses our history and examines current radio stations, performances, recording studios, and music education. In reading this book, young people will learn about what their elders did in the past, and elders will remember those things they took part in. In addition, this book will become a road map for the next generation to use in order to learn about Tanzanian popular music. It is a very important book that illustrates the past, present, and future of Tanzanian music.” —Remmy Ongala