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Country Zanzibar Genres spiritual Website
Festival Sauti za Busara 2004, 2005, 2008, 2011, 2018 Recordings
Zanzibara Vol 6: Mtendeni Maulid Ensemble, 2012
Welcome to one of the world's best kept secrets. The Maulidi ya Homu from Mtendeni, Zanzibar is a visually spectacular and spiritually uplifting experience. In the 21st Century only three groups remain in the world still practicing this religious art form, all based in Zanzibar.
Maulidi ya Homu come from a centuries-old tradition with roots in the Arab World. Ustadh Majid Said Mansour founded the group in the mid-1960s after learning the traditions from his grandfather. The people of Zanzibar clearly hold this tradition close to their hearts and turn out in thousands to witness when the group performs at Islamic religious festivals. Having recently returned from the Festival of World Sacred Music in Fez (Morocco), popular demand for the group has increased both at home and abroad.
For many years both women and men participated in Maulidi ya Homu performances, but these days it is more often performed only by men. The musicians play percussion instruments only. They are arranged on the floor with the dancers who are kneeling in one line. Starting very softly and almost motionless the music and singing unfolds and encapsulates, slowly weaving its spell among both artists and audience. Gradually the rhythm and music build in intensity, until the right moment, when the musicians take everything to another completely higher level. The show is spiritually charged and spectacular. The impression given is of beauty and unity, visually arresting, soul-stirring and completely unique.
"It is rare that a religiously inspired display can convey such depth of feeling to outsiders. This group could do more than any politician or spokesman to communicate to Westerners the sweetness and elegance inherent in Islam." Banning Eyre, Afropop Worldwide