Beloved Youth of Many Days by Frank Gunderson

Frank Gunderson

Frank Gunderson showed his film about the Mlimani Park Orchestra, "Beloved Youth of Many Days," on March 1st at the Askew Student Life Center. The Mlimani Park Orchestra, aka Sikinde, is based in Tanzania and has been around since 1978. They play muziki wa danzi or dance music. Though many members have come and gone throughout the years, three of the 12 original members are still a part of the Mlimani Park Orchestra. The film mainly consisted of testimonials from current and former members, fans, producers, and more. The "star" of the Mlimani Park Orchestra is Hassan Rehani Bitchuka who left their rival band to join MPO.

During the film, the camera was turned on Frank Gunderson who was asked why he chose the Mlimani Park Orchestra to feature when he could have chosen any subject. Gunderson responded in Swahili saying that he had been moved to tears by Bitchuka's singing the first time he heard their music. He decided to learn Swahili because he wanted to understand the lyrics behind the beautiful voice. Others also praised Bitchuka's singing, claiming it sounded just as it did when he started his musical career.

MPO's song Nawashukuru Wazazi Wangu was called the unofficial national anthem of Tanzania though the band is also extremely popular in Kenya. One of the band's biggest fans is former Tanzanian president, Jakaya Kikwete who makes an appearance in the film singing a verse from one of MPO's songs. Numerous other songs of theirs played throughout the film whether as background music or clips from their live performances.

We congratulate Frank Gunderson on his award-winning film and can't wait to see what he creates next!

Check out the trailer for the film here:


To listen to music from Mlimani Park Orchestra:


Apple Music-