Country Zanzibar Genres taarab Festival Sauti za Busara 2008
Kikundi cha Taifa (National Taarab Orchestra) of Zanzibar was founded many years ago, having a flexible set up but always featuring the cream of the crop of taarab musicians from the Islands.
The group is presently under the artistic direction of two of Zanzibar's taarab maestros, Mr Iddi Suwedi of Culture Musical Club, and Mr Mohamed Ilyas of Nadi Ikhwan Safaa (Malindi Taarab). Including lead singers and selected artists from the aforementioned orchestras, Kikundi cha Taifa also features musicians from East African Melody, KIKI Taarab, Baladna and other groups from around Zanzibar and Pemba islands.
Numbering 42 artists in total, the orchestra plays traditional taarab music, using oud, violin, qanun, cello, bass, accordion and percussion.
Under government sponsorship, the National Taarab Orchestra comes together specifically to perform for special events, for example to mark Zanzibar's Revolution Day every year on January 12th. Athough they have not yet recorded CDs, famous songs in their repertoire include Vya Kale Dhahabu (Old is Gold); Kanijia Kwenye Ndoto; Ombi Mahususi and Chozi la Huba.
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