Tanzania: American Star Alicia Keys Eyes Singeli

Dar es Salaam — Tanzania's Singeli music is spreading far beyond its roots after American musician Alicia Augello-Cook, known popularly as Alicia Keys decided to incorporate the frenetic music into her tunes.

This news yesterday went viral on social media networks after the American singer/songwriter and pianist's husband Swizz Beatz posted a short video showing Alicia Keys listening and dancing to a Singeli song "Wanga" by the Tanzanian poppy Singeli's artist Meja Kunta featuring Lavalava from WCB Wasafi Record label.

The reports suggest that Swizz Beatz, who is a American DJ, record producer and her wife are considering to make a remix of the song.

Swizz Beatz posted the video on his Instagram page.

Alicia Keys became an international star in the early 2000s with her singular mix of classic and contemporary R&B. Behind the number one pop hit "Fallin'," her debut album, Songs in A Minor, sold more than 50,000 copies during its first day

Meja Kunta (song owner) told The Citizen yesterday he thanked God for the great news. He also thanked WCB label for taking his music to next level.

In Tanzania, Singeli music has become mainstream, with bongo flava stars like Professor Jay incorporating singeli into their tunes. A new breed of pop-leaning Singeli artists has emerged, with the likes of Man Fongo, Msaga Sumu and Sholo Mwamba racking up millions of views on YouTube.

The Singeli's freestyles are often socially conscious, sometimes humorous and usually aimed at younger Tanzanians. Furthermore, as singeli artists continue to travel internationally and soak up outside influences, it's possible the sound of singeli will grow.

When reached over the telephone yesterday, the WCB's Manager Mr Hamis Tale, famously 'Babu Tale' said, "We have made an agreement with them after they have shown interest in making a remix of the song. We couldn't reject the deal."

Commenting on the news, a Tanzanian veteran musician John Kitime said, he was pleased with the way the agreement was made between the two sides.

"It is now interesting to watch and listen to Tanzanian songs. Recently I had an conversation with a producer from Scotland, and he told that at least three million songs are played per day worldwide, therefore it was not easy to listen to each artist's song," said Mr Kitime.

He added: "But if the Americans especially famous artists have watched the Singeli song, and have shown to make a remix of the song, that's a big achievements." Furthermore, Mr Kitime commented that it was high time for Tanzanian musicians to improve their music and ensure they secure their songs' copyrights in order to benefit when such deals come on their way.

For his part, Tanzanian Bongo Fleva artist, Ben Pol advised Singeli artists to closely collaborate with Bongo Fleva musicians so as to extend their networking globally. Ben Pol further urged the singeli musicians to become creative so as to expand their fans base.

Commenting on the news, one of the famous Tanzanian Singeli artists, Msaga Sumu, said he was happy to receive the news, further said the move by the American artists to admire Tanzanian songs was a good step for Tanzanian music industry.

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