Tausi Women’s Taarab presents a revolution in a very traditional genre: Zanzibar’s first all-female taarab orchestra where all the instruments are played by women and accompanied by women singers.
The Tausi Taarab orchestra was formed in 2009 and presents music in the tradition of classical taarab style. Dating back to the 1920s when Siti Bint Saad (widely recognised as the “mother of taarab”) recorded a large catalogue of Swahili songs, many talented women composers and singers have contributed to the development of Zanzibar's most famous music style. However, even in the “women's groups” during the 1960s it was only men who played the instruments. Tausi (meaning “peacock”) has changed this forever.
A key element of their work is to use music as a tool to raise awareness on issues such as adolescent pregnancies, drug abuse, or fighting violence against women and children. Since 2009, the group has been invited to perform at various functions of the EU, the UN, opening of the “Women’s Decade 2010-2020”, African Union, Ministry of Education in Zanzibar, Zanzibar International Film Festival, Bagamoyo Festival, as well as at private weddings and commercial functions.
Anyone who saw the group at their world premiere during Sauti za Busara 2010 can now be amazed at how far the young women have grown artistically and musically under the tutelage of Taarab stars Mariam Hamdani and Mohamed Ilyas.