Bob showed up on our doorstep in Tanzania one day not too long ago. We though, at first, that he was a new milkman. Not true. Bob is definitely Bob. Very much so. You'll see when you listen to his Asante album.
Bob's a friend of a friend and that's how he got hold of us. His gigs are primarily around northern Tanzania: parties, bars, and such. He works in the music studio of another friend to support his habit. He records when he can and writes in the middle of the night when his neighborhood quiets down.
Bob Julie was born high on the slopes of Kilimanjaro in a tiny little village nestled right up next to the forest. He doesn’t talk about it much. It was another life, quite different from the one he leads now.
Bob started singing when he went to church with his mother. Hers was a Roman Catholic church and it wasn’t too hip. When Bob grew enough to get a desire to play the guitar, he had to sneak over to the Lutheran church and hang out with his friends.
In 2001, Bob turned pro. He moved to Moshi, an old German town and one of the largest cities in northern Tanzania. He and his group, the Kuringe Brothers Band, played locally and did pretty well.
In 2003, Bob joined the Ambassadors Band in Arusha, the second largest city in Tanzania. He cut his teeth in a recording studio there and, eventually, started working in that very same studio.
In 2004, Bob hit it big. He won a Coca Cola Popstars Competition and ended up touring in Nairobi for some time. He still concentrated on recording, though, and continued to hone his studio skills in the little Arusha studio.
Bob has continued on from there. He plays occasionally in Zanzibar and constantly around northern Tanzania, both with musician friends and with big musicians from as far away as Denmark.
Asante, Bob’s first album, is entirely his own. Friends helped with the music, but Bob composed it and put it together. Even people who aren’t reggae fans tap their feet when they listen.
The next album, Bob says, will be entirely different. It’ll have African roots. Until now, we thought Bob was a reggae dude and that was it. But he'll fool you. He's off on his own, now, exploring a substantially more African sound. It's a sound from his heart. From his soul. From the dirt of Africa.