Busara through the years 2005

Phew! Another year has flown by; it feels like we haven’t stopped. Busara Promotions is always on the look out for opportunities to promote music that reinforces the cultural identities of the region and so we jumped at the chance of sponsoring new music recordings for Moh’d Issa Matona, Wazenji Kijiwe, and Jagwa Music (for whom we have also produced a new music video). Through the year we have organised a number of shows (in Zanzibar and on the mainland) promoting local and regional artists. These included Maulidi ya Homu ya Mtendeni, Qasida Swiffat

Nubuwiyyatul, Bi Kidude, Sinachuki Kidumbak, Sosoliso Kidumbak, Culture Musical Club and Baladna Taarab. Another important element of Busara’s work is to build skills through seminars and workshops, and in recent times these have covered
1) Studio Skills and Sound Engineering,
2) Marketing and Promoting Tanzanian Music, and
3) Developing Swahili hip-hop to be more original, relevant, and marketable (internationally). We’ve also had master classes in violin, and the oud.

In May 2005 we sponsored the participation of DCMA Kidumbak group and Wazenji Kijiwe from Zanzibar at the B-Connected Festival in Dar es Salaam. In July 2005 we sponsored and assisted with promotion for Nadi Ikhwan Safaa (Malindi Taarab), who celebrated a hundred years of making music in style; making them without doubt, Africa’s oldest surviving orchestra. In October, we took Jagwa Music to the prestigious WOMEX (World Music Expo) in Britain’s posh new Sage Centre, Gateshead Newcastle. Their crazy mchiriku sounds and powerful stage show have resulted in invitations pouring in from concert organisers and festival promoters around the world. 

We also took 93 year old Bi Kidude to WOMEX as she had been nominated for the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition for her extraordinary career and contributions to the world of music. Through the year we’ve continued to collaborate with the ScreenStation (UK) film project about her life.

In November East African Melody and Sinachuki Kidumbak group were invited to the Lamu Cultural Festival. Busara secured funding for their travel and escorted them, not entirely prepared for the reaction. It was amazing to see so many women, young and old, in traditional Muslim attire, clawing for position in front of the stage and singing along to Melody’s best known songs… and then, in the spirit of sisterhood, insisting that Sinachuki perform their rather suggestive dances. “Our religious elders would rather we didn’t see this kind of dancing – they don’t seem to realise we have TVs and videos – we might have no cars on the island but we’re certainly not naïve.”

While our main focus, as you have probably gathered by now, is to promote the wealth and diversity of Swahili music at home and abroad, we also hope to open the ears, hearts and minds of our local audiences to music from other parts of Africa and the world. Under the project name Routes in Rhythm, we continue to play our eclectic choice of music at full-moon parties and other beach-side events around the island. These are enormously popular, with locals and visitors alike; partying til dawn to the latest sounds and classic cuts from the African continent and diaspora. … and then, of course, it’s time again to bring you another festival!