busara through the years 2006

So, what have we been up to since we last saw you?

Around the beginning of September full-time staff count leapt to three as we were joined by Philipo Njaidi as an Arts Administration Intern, on a six month contract sponsored by Ford Foundation. He was just in time to assist Yusuf and Kwame with reviewing the mountain of “Call for Artists” CDs. This year was 5 times over subscribed and the quality was generally very high… such difficult decisions to make.

Throughout the year we have been providing assistance for the Bi Kidude film project (undertaken by ScreenStation UK) as it has been going through the final editing and post production stages: translating transcripts, deciphering ancient recordings, and giving feedback on early edits. At one stage Philipo was playing an MP3 down the phone to Kwame who was in Nairobi with Bi Kidude doing a sound check – and no she couldn’t recognise what she was singing 30 years ago either!

We have also had a few opportunities to meet and network with like minded organisations. Yusuf went to Brazzaville to talk about “Developing Pan-African Cultural Synergies” at a South-South Networking Meeting on Cultural Diversity organised by UNESCO; he presented a paper on “Music Festivals and Cultural Tourism” at the ACP festival in Dominican Republic and on the way back participated in “Encounters Africa Now!” (in Paris) organised by CULTURESFRANCE. In Zanzibar, he gave a presentation on Cultural Tourism at ZATI Roundtable meeting and sat on a panel “to help set up an agenda for EU arts funding for Tz”.

In September, we even hosted a roundtable forum on “Music, Festivals and Cultural Tourism”. It was attended by Madam Mh Samiha Suluhu Hassan, Hon. Minister for Tourism, Trade and Investment and 40 delegates from Government, NGO, and private sector and seemed to generate a new level of awareness and enthusiasm for festivals such as Sauti za Busara. In November, Philip represented Busara at the East African Arts Summit in Nairobi.

It’s also been a busy time on the road. In May, Kwame escorted Zanzibari groups “Bz Broo” and “Shirikisho Sanaa” to the B-Connected Festival in Dar es Salaam; and then in October he escorted Bi Kidude with her Unyago dancers, plus our “Where the music takes me” photographic exhibition to the Sigalagala Women’s Festival in Nairobi.

In June, Yusuf accompanied international jet-setting Bi Kidude and six nervous Unyago dancers & drummers to Festival Mundial in The Netherlands where they did three shows, some press interviews, and some advanced promotion of the film “As Old As My Tongue”. In October, he was tour manager for Culture Musical Club’s trip to Dominican Republic where they played the ACP festival (African, Caribbean, Pacific states).