The Ahadi project was my first try at participating in the African music business. After an absence of a little more than four years, I was back in Kenya at the beginning of 1985. Tanzanian dance band music was very popular at the time and most of it due to the releases of a little business called FLATIM Records Agencies run by Franklin Livingstone Amaumo (the FLA part of the name) and his Tanzanian partner, Tido Mhando (the TIM part of the name). On his Ahadi label, Livingstone released a number of 45rpm singles by Tanzanian bands that were quite popular on Kenyan radio and he produced full-length albums on cassette. As a fan, I had collected most of his catalog up to the release of Orchestra Maquis' Karubandika single and cassette. One day, I was in Nairobi's Melodica music shop and I began lamenting the fact that I couldn't buy Karubandika as an LP. The Melodica proprietor told me to take my complaint right to the management and introduced me to Livingstone, who was there in the shop.
That was the beginning of a four year relationship with Livingstone and the Ahadi label. We worked out a deal that I would finance the release of Ahadi LPs and if there were any profits after recouping our costs and paying musicians, we would split the proceeds. On the business end, it was a complete wash: I just barely got all of my investment money back and was pleased to not have a big loss. It was, however, a great learning experience in local music entrepreneurship. On the musical side, it was a tremendous experience to learn all about the bands and the musicians. (It was my first experience in writing cover notes as well, though we put Livingstone's name on all of them no matter who wrote them.) Between 1986 and 1988, I participated in the release of five of Ahadi's seven albums. Even today, it remains some of the best big band African dance music ever made.
The Ahadi LPs
These are a series of albums of East African music produced by Livingstone Amaumo and Douglas Paterson and released by Ahadi Records, Nairobi Kenya. LPs are no longer manufactured in Kenya but many of the following albums are still available in cassette format in Nairobi.
- Orchestra Maquis Original -- Karubandika
Ahadi AHDLP 6001
- The Best of Orchestra DDC Mlimani Park
Ahadi AHDLP 6002
- Somo Somo -- Paris
Ahadi AHDLP 6003 (This was a licensed released of the Stern's Africa release STERNS 1014)
- Vijana Jazz Orchestra -- Featuring: Mary Maria
Ahadi AHDLP 6004
- Tanzania Hit Parade 88
Features Vijana Jazz, Juwata Jazz, International Orchestra Safari Sound, Orchestra Maquis Original
Ahadi AHDLP 6005
- The Best of DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra, Volume 2
Ahadi AHDLP 6006
- Remmy Ongala -- On Stage with
Ahadi AHDLP 6007
For details on the Ahadi releases including catalog numbers, titles, songs, cover graphics, and more; visit Alastair Johnston's Muzikifan website: Tanzanian Discography.
East African Music - African Radio
To contact Douglas Paterson, send email to DPaterson@EastAfricanMusic.com.
Last updated 03 October, 2011.