Country Zanzibar Genres taarab traditional Festival Sauti za Busara 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015 Recordings
Taarab 4: The Music of Zanzibar Culture Musical Club (1988); Spices of Zanzibar (1996); Kidumbak Kalcha: N'gambo The Other Side of Zanzibar (1997); Bashraf Taarab Instrumentals from Zanzibar (2000); Waridi Parfums de Zanzibar (2003); Shime (2009)
Founded in 1958, Culture Musical Club is Zanzibar's most prolific and successful taarab orchestra. The club performs widely at concerts in Zanzibar town, but also frequently travels overland with a fold-up stage and an electricity generator to bring its music to the rural areas. They have released hundreds of songs on the local market and since 1988 have had six international CD releases. The group has been performing in Europe regularly since 1996, and in more recent years in United States, Dominican Republic, Reunion and Japan.
Besides taarab, many club members are also active in kidumbak groups, smaller ensembles that play a more down-home, dance-focused music. Both styles of music are often included in their shows, contrasting the serene sound of orchestral taarab to the festive and sexually charged dance that is kidumbak.
The taarab orchestra includes three violins, qanun, oud, two accordions, double bass, dumbak, bongos and rika, plus singers and female chorus. The kidumbak side features three violins, sanduku (tea-chest bass), two kidumbak drums, cherewa (maracas) and mkwasa (claves), female chorus and dancers.
Culture Musical Club are known internationally, so rehearsals in their clubhouse have become somewhat of a tourist attraction. This, however, does not interfere with the first and foremost aim of their social gathering to enjoy music and to be moved by it. So sit back and let the rich orchestral sounds, the inventive songs and the joy of the music-making transport you!
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