The Sauti za Busara music festival, Zanzibar features a rich variety of African music from the region with musicians participating over four days in historic Stone Town supplemented with fringe events around town and across the island.
Where and When
Old Fort, Stone Town, Zanzibar
- 12 - 15 February 2015
- Late afternoon till the early hours
We recommend visitors to book well in advance.
facts & figures
- Sauti za Busara is Swahili for "Sounds of Wisdom"
- 20,000 people over 4 days
- 75% Tanzanian audience
- 55% female audience
- 70% audience in 14-34 age range
- 4 nights (main stage)
- 9 hours of performances/night
- 38 groups
- 75% East African music
- 400 artists
- 20 countries
- 100% live
- $90 visitors' price for all festival
- $6 for Tanzanians all festival
Sauti za Busara is one of "Africa's best loved music festivals"(DJ Rita Ray, BBC) and is listed in CNN's top "7 African music festivals you really have to see".
Organised by Busara Promotions, a non-profit NGO, Sauti za Busara takes place annually during February in Stone Town, Zanzibar, with 'more fire' and 'full mzuka'!
Sauti za Busara promotes respect for cultural diversity. Forty groups are showcased, typically including around twenty from Zanzibar and Tanzania, with others from across the African Continent and diaspora. Young, local and emerging talents are showcased alongside established acts. The festival showcases acoustic and electric music, '100% live'. Its focus is on promoting music with cultural identity.
Sauti za Busara has showcased artists from 36 African countries, including Bassekou Kouyate (Mali), Natacha Atlas (Egypt/UK), Thandiswa Mazwai (South Africa), Nneka (Nigeria), Blitz the Ambassador (Ghana/USA), Malouma (Mauritania), Bi Kidude (Znz), Ba Cissoko (Guinea), Samba Mapangala (DRC), Tcheka (Cape Verde), Orchestre Poly Rythmo (Benin), DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra (Tz), Nadi Ikhwan Safaa (Znz), Didier Awadi (Senegal), Djmawi Africa (Algeria), Jagwa Music (Tanzania) and many more.
Training workshops for promoting networking and building skills are key elements of the festival, being especially targeted for East African musicians, managers, media professionals and technicians. During 2015 for example, the festival offered training in stage management, sound engineering, stage lighting, press and marketing skills. In partnership with other festivals in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Denmark and Norway, festival team members benefit from hands-on learning experiences by joining other production crews, where skills, knowledge and contacts are shared across borders.
Through the year, Sauti za Busara works in partnership with Dhow Countries Music Academy (DCMA Zanzibar) to provide opportunities for international musicians to meet, learn from each other, and create new musical fusions. Results from these artistic collaborations are performed on the main stage, under the title of Swahili Encounters.
The festival also hosts 'Movers & Shakers': a daily networking forum for local and visiting artists, managers, media and related professionals to meet and connect informally, exchange ideas and information. At the same time Busara Xtra is an umbrella for externally-organised events of cultural interest to visitors. These activities present further opportunities for local artists to showcase their work and encourage visitors to see other parts of the islands.
Immensely popular with Tanzanians as well as visitors to the region, Sauti za Busara has firmly established itself as an unmissable event on the African cultural calendar and 'the friendliest festival on Planet Earth'. (Daily News)
For more information about Busara Promotions (festival organisers) please see our organisation page for vision, mission, and achievements to date.
Five year plan
Busara Promotions Five Year Plan (Executive Summary) 2014-2019 (PDF, 2mb)
Please look through the pictures from past festivals.
Hi-res copies for print publication are available on request, but may be subject to a licence fee depending on the purpose.