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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 August, 2004, 09:47 GMT 10:47 UK
Tanzania mourns beloved musician
By Vicky Ntetema
BBC correspondent in Dar es Salaam

Album cover of Harusi
Patrick Balisidya's song Harusi is played at most weddings
The funeral of one of Tanzania's most loved musicians, Patrick Balisidya, has taken place in Dar es Salaam.

Hundreds of fans turned out on Tuesday to mourn the co-founder of the Afro 70 band, popular in East Africa in the 1970s.

His music fused traditional beats of percussion instruments such as marimba and drums with modern music, guitars, saxophones and trumpets.

Described by many as a down-to-earth man, Balisidya's lyrics often carried educative messages.

The wedding song

He used his music to publicise campaigns such as trachoma and HIV/Aids.

Balisidya's father, Mzee Yohana Balisidya, said that his songs carried good instructions for everyone.

Patrick Balisidya's neighbour Mrs Joyce Chambai
Patrick Balisidya was a very good man... he was like a brother to me
Joyce Chambai
Patrick Balisidya's neighbour
"He was my first born, one of the beloved sons in my family... I was very impressed and very pleased to hear his songs... some of the songs are still as good as they were," Mzee Balisidya said.

Produced in the 1970s, Harusi - meaning wedding - is one of Balisidya's most popular songs.

Nowadays there is almost no wedding reception in Tanzania that does not play the song.

The lyrics tell new partners in marriage to be humble and generous in their new home, to respect their parents and to teach their children manners.

'Unique sounds'

Balisidya's neighbour since 1975, Mrs Joyce Chambai, said he used to like to play music in front of his house and taught many people how to play his instruments.

"Patrick Balisidya was a very good man, a very good neighbour, more than a neighbour, he was like a brother to me."

Former Afro 70 members from left: Freedom Balisidya, Juma Obao 'King Makussa', Yusuf Idd, Salum Willis and Steven Balisidya
Former Afro 70 members hope to reform to honour Balisidya
His younger brother Freedom was a member of Afro 70 founded in the 1970s.

"Patrick taught me music... he composed and produced unique sounds which distinguish him from other artists. We have lost a huge talent which cannot be replaced," he said.

Afro 70 disbanded after a terrible traffic accident in 1975 when all their instruments were destroyed.

The band never recovered from the loss, and Balisidya continued a solo career in Sweden.

Original members of the band are thinking of reforming to honour Patrick Balisidya's memory.

Your memories and tributes to Patrick Balisidya:


Patrick Balisidya was a very humble man, friendly and down to earth kind of guy. I had the privileged of working with him in 2000 at the Don Bosco Studio. He helped produce a song I recorded with my cousin. I saw him perform once at the Mnazi Mmoja grounds, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, his showmanship on stage was truly amazing; he was in sync with the audience. He really knew how to move a crowd and he was loved for that. Although it was the year 2000, his dress code still reflected the 70's style he sort of wanted to make a fashion statement. Furthermore, he is one of the few Tanzanian artists to bring our music to an international audience. My condolence goes to his family. He will be missed and may his soul rest in perfect peace.
Balozi Dola, New York, USA

I remember Afro 70 band and the late Patrick Balisidya during the 1970s. My brother was in the band too, I saw him today on TV at the funeral. Their songs were just good. May God rest his soul in eternal peace.
Murad Vellani, Zanzibar, Tanzania

Patrick Balisidya's death came as a shock to me. As a young child in the 1970's in Dar-es-Salaam, the radio was my best friend. Balisidya's sweet lyrics and flowing melody captured the memories of all newly weds in the coastal shores. But most importantly, his talent rewarded Tanzania with its own soundtrack. Angels are singing a sweeter melody tonight in heaven. May God bless Patrick Balisidya.
Emanuel Nkulila, Los Angeles, California, USA

I was in secondary school in the 1970s and I used to enjoy listening to the slow lyrics of Patrick Balisidya. I loved his song, "Nikitisama Dirishani oo, naona ni mvua yanyesha oo". That song was our class master's favourite and I used to go near his house to listen to the music that used to flare through his living room window, over the weekend. Patrick Balisidya will be missed by Kiswahili speaking fans all over east, central and south Africa. May the almighty, God, rest his soul in eternal peace. I will miss him.
Daudi Elijah Osoro, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

Patrick B was a great musician and my family and I knew him since the 1970s. He came to perform on my sister's wedding in 1975. He sang Harusi. He will never be forgotten and the last time I saw him was about three months ago 2004 , when he came back from Sweden he visited our studios of Clouds FM in Dar. May his soul rest in eternal peace.
Mpr'ss Gypsy Vancy, Dar es Salaam , Tanzania

I happened to hear about Patrick Balisidya from my Mama. She is known as Mama Africa a producer / presenter of Radio Clouds FM here in Dar es Salaam. I saw photographs of the late Patrick in my grandma's family albums from 1975 when he came to perform with Afro 70 at my aunt's wedding. My family and I will always treasure what memories we have of him. He was a great musician and will be missed by many and my family is one of those who will miss him dearly. May his soul rest in eternal peace.
Precious G Huggins, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Patrick was great from secondary school in Dodoma through to Dar technical college and to a musician with sense and direction. It is a Kongwa Music Spirit that is regrettably fading.
Albert, Kongwa

One of the most talented young musicians in his time, who tried to carve Tanzanian music into its own blend - against and amidst the powerful Western and Congolese music. I remember him when he was at the then Technical College Dar, how he teamed up with the late Emmanuel Joseph to play with Dar Jazz B... May his soul rest in peace!!
John W.Nyoka, Windhoek, Namibia

As a music-loving young man growing up in Kenya's Rift Valley, I remember Patrick Balisidya and the Afro 70s. Perhaps the most memorable song was "Dirishani". It was a block-buster, especially on the then Voice of Kenya (VOK). May he rest in peace.
James Sang, Washington DC, USA

Patrick Balisidya was a very humble man, friendly and down to earth kind of guy. I had the privileged of working with him in 2000 at the Don Bosco Studio. He helped produce a song I recorded with my cousin. I saw him perform once at the Mnazi Mmoja grounds, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, his showmanship on stage was truly amazing; he was in sync with the audience. He really knew how to move a crowd and he was loved for that. Although it was the year 2000 he dress code still reflected the 70s style he sort of wanted to make a fashion statement. Furthermore, he is one of the few Tanzanian artists to bring our music to an international audience. My condolence goes to his family. He will be missed and may his soul rest in perfect peace.
Balozi Dola, New York, USA




SEE ALSO:
Country profile: Tanzania
21 Jul 04  |  Country profiles
World music pioneer Zawose dies
08 Jan 04  |  Entertainment


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