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Country Zanzibar Genres kidumbak taarab traditional Website www.zanzibarmusic.org Festival Sauti za Busara: 2015
Back in the 1950s and 60s many regions in Zanzibar including the streets of Stone Town had at least one taarab or kidumbak group. Sadly few remain. However, in the village of Mahonda, on the main road north from Zanzibar Town, since 1993 the KIKI Kidumbaki group has been alive and strong.
Around ten years ago, then leader of the group, the late Ali Baramia approached Hilda Kiel, who was in charge at Dhow Countries Music Academy (DCMA), requesting support to advance the musical progress of the group. From this encounter the Mahonda annex of the DCMA was formed, which under sponsorship of UNESCO provides training for teachers, artists and musicians as well as purchase of instruments, maintenance of school buildings and other needs. Under this umbrella of support the KIKI Kidumbak group performed regularly in Mahonda and Stone Town but since funds dried up and whilst DCMA was struggling to survive financially, support for Kiki dropped enormously.
Fortunately, the musicians love for music sustained the group and Kiki has managed to continue. Since the new DCMA Artistic Director, Matona Mohamed has been in post he has taken Kiki under his wing to help sustain the group and progress the band's artistic and performance skills. With this in mind the group performs regularly again in Stone Town, at the Old Dispensary, CCM Hall, and Gymkhana Club. Kiki has now become the most active and respected kidumbak group in Zanzibar. It has the reputation of performing real kidumbak, as opposed to many groups who diluted the uniquely original traditions.