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Country Zanzibar Genres roots taarab traditional Festival Sauti za Busara 2007 Recordings
Mohammed Issa Matona was born in 1969 in Paje, Zanzibar about 45 miles from Stone Town.
He received his primary and secondary education in Zanzibar and Morogoro but spent most of his time in making music from early age. He participated in football and athletics, but his favourite early hobby was always drumming with his friends after school.
His father, Issa Matona, was a very famous musician, singing and playing kidumbak and taarab. Matona's music career started to shine when he performed his father's compositions. His inspiration was from his father who taught him. Neighbours and friends noticed his talent and spoke about him having inherited his father's talent when they heard him drumming on his self made drum.
In 1986 he left school and joined his father's group as a percussionist in Dar es Salaam.
Matona returned to Zanzibar in 1987 and joined the Khasi Musical Club. In 1989 he started playing music with a famous Zanzibar group known as Mohammed Elyas and the Twinkling Stars, as percussionist, violinist and then qanun player. He left this group in 1993 and decided to join Bwawani Taarab orchestra as the group's music director. Here he was composing, writing and also the main qanun and keyboard player.
His musical journey continues in 1995 when he leaves Bwawani Taarab and joins the oldest taarab orchestra in Zanzibar, Nadi Ikhwan Safaa (Malindi Taarab). At the same time Matona formed his own group under the name of G-Clef Taarab Orchestra, which became very popular for inspiring and training young musicians who are famous today with "modern taarab". In 2002 the Dhow Countries Music Academy (www.zanzibarmusic.org) opened its doors and Matona was asked to join as a teacher. To sharpen his skills and musical knowledge Matona was twice sent to Egypt for further studies. The multi-instrumentalist, composer and songwriter has also travelled frequently to perform in many countries in Europe.