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Country Pemba Zanzibar Genres taarab Website Festival Sauti za Busara 2008
The Dhow Countries Music Academy is Zanzibar's first music school and the only of its kind in East Africa. Focusing on teaching traditional music DCMA has about 100 active students from all levels, amateurs to professional musicians, visiting the academy almost daily to practice. But DCMA also reaches out bringing music education to rural areas where musicians do not usually have access to the opportunities that town offers. Financed by UNESCO, DCMA runs classes in Mahonda, a small village located about 25 km north of Stone Town and it conducts regular camps on our sister island of Pemba.
When teachers from DCMA first went to Pemba in 2005 to hold a Taarab workshop, they met musicians with no formal music education. As musicians in rural areas are generally suffering from a lack of (good) instruments - even violin strings aren't available much of the time and are substituted with wires from bicycle brakes - they seized the opportunity to play on the instruments brought by DCMA and are possessed by an eagerness to learn. No wonder that throughout the series of workshops great progress was made.
In November 2007, DCMA returned once again to Pemba to conduct a three week workshop, and the excitement was palpable. It felt like a small festival. Twelve musicians, from a variety of different Tarrab groups, had left home and work to participate. They called themselves the Tibirinzi Allstars and for the entire three weeks, the musicians lived together, exchanging experiences, ideas and creativity. The Tibirinzi funfair was a very charming, nostalgic location for the daily classes and play sessions.
The experience of a stunning final concert gave the initial idea for this year's performance at Sauti za Busara: DCMA meets Tibirinzi Allstars. Working this time again in a mixed group of musicians means experiencing the "different flavours" songs have when played by musicians from Pemba or Unguja.