Sunday, April 6, 2014

Mombasa Taarab Maestro Passes Away

Taarab maestro Mohamed Khamis Juma Bhalo passed away on Saturday 5-4-2014 and will be buried today in Mombasa.

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Popularly referred to as JB, the professor is one of the greatest kings of Taarab music in Africa and has won the hearts of fans all over the world due to  his great talent.

He is, indeed, a professor of Taarab. Juma Bhalo, a traditional musician of the 60s,70s, 80s 90s, and now the new millennium has been able to maintain this position as the King Of Taarab owing to his poetic Swahili songs.

They are food for thought as they touch on people's lifestyle, love and misfortune. His art has been influential to many up-and-coming groups in Kenya and Tanzania, countries which are home to a large number of Taarab enthusiasts.

What makes Bhalo's songs unique is his golden voice and  the manner in which he crafts the lyrics. They are poetic and a mishmash of languages spoken in East Africa. He has a gift of coming up with “on the spot” lyrics while performing live on weddings.

A good example of this talent was caught live in one of his performance while singing in a weding in Mombasa  in his album called “Live in Majengo”. The song title was “Nisalimia Mpenzi Kisha baada ya salamu mwambie walaumiwa.” It happened that,  on that night there was a drunkard wedding crasher at the occasion who had lost his sense of being and was acting boyishly around the ever elegant ever modest Swahili ladies (Bhalo’s biggest fan). As the ladies were being entertained, Professor JB spoted the drunkard. More at

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