Another leg of live concerts for Tanzania’s upbeat Abeneko

Thursday February 6 2020

Isack Abeneko

Isack Abeneko 

By Detricia Pamba

Isack Abeneko is a Tanzanian contemporary live performer, singer, songwriter, guitarist, dancer and choreographer. His music is a mix of innovative East African beats, melodies, funk and Afro fusion which have been created in different traditional dances, melodies and rhythm brought to contemporary music life.

Earlier this week, Abeneko through his Weka Music recording label conducted the Ukweli Concert, an event to celebrate and officially release his 3rd studio album titled ‘UKWELI’, at Slow Leopard, Masaki. The thrilling concert with an African vibe was attended by a lot of people, including live music enthusiasts, something that Abeneko and the Band are pioneers of. The event was hosted by Caroline Anande and the guest of honor was the well-known performing and visual artist, Paul Ndugunguru, who officially launched the album.

The concert was one that can be marked international, with several guests from across the boarders in attendance, among them being guest artist Fadhilee Itulya from Kenya, who also blessed the stage with an amazing performance before Abeneko himself came in to play his first song from Ukweli album. The Ukweli album is a part of Abeneko and Band 2020 summer tour which will be held in East Africa, all the way to Europe.

The album’s title ‘Ukweli’ is a Swahili word meaning ‘the truth’. The aim of the album is to explore truthfulness in its entirety.

Speaking to The Beat, Abeneko says the album’s title is meant to depict the message portrayed in the songs.

“The major aim of the album is to explore the state of being true through songs that tell true stories and life of Tanzanian citizens and the culture. It explores [my] society’s life from the rural area to urban lifestyle that I have experienced and researched extensively to reflect and present: I know my truth and I know who I am, I was born and raised in the city of Dar es salaam,” added Abeneko.


He went on to pose the questions: ‘How do you know other people’s culture while you do not know your own? How do you love a person who’s no longer there to love? How do you bear the pain when you have already borne enough? How do you remember a day, when you only live in the night? Answers to all these questions will be made clear in the Ukweli album’’

Since we know our lives better than anyone else, Abeneko wanted to depict the series through the vantage point of his life – through music, ensuring that each song in the album is not only authentic, but also relevant to his culture.

He says, “There was so much to learn, in so little time. It is hard to describe our own culture and life only using rhyme. But this was my attempt, I hope people will not only buy this album to listen to the various traditional rhythm, beats, melody infused with contemporary music, but will also learn and get in touch with the music and the message conveyed, because the album is very real.”

Ukweli is a result of a creative process, traversing the musical combinations of afro-pop, bongo-fusion, acoustic, reggae, and other local styles. It features a band which includes Isack Abeneko (lead vocals/acoustic guitar), Shabo Makota (lead guitar) Upendo Manase (vocals/backing vocals), Mbwana Mponda (bass guitar & keys board), Maneno Norman Bikaka (Lead Guitar) Moses Zamangwa (saxophone), Saidi Makelele (trumpet) Muhaza mwalimu (percussion) and Erick Hussen (Zeze), making the album have a feel of live music even if it is all recorded.

As Ukweli album shows the truth about the Tanzanian culture and realities of the African society in an elaborative way, Abeneko hopes that his type of music will be accepted and embraced worldwide, especially in African societies, as Abeneko says; “If we can’t embrace what’s ours, who will?”