Busara through the years 2010

2010 saw Busara move house, to a larger premises at Maisara, on the airport road, where we are settling in nicely amid wider horizons. Keeping focused and on track with implementing our Five Year Plan remains the priority, aiming for a vibrant East African music industry prominent on the world stage
As many of you will remember, Sauti za Busara 2010 Festival was a very special one…

By February 2010, the whole of Zanzibar had been without electricity for two continuous months. Visitors’ numbers were down and the economy was stagnant, even during the high season. Busara overcame the darkness and attracted 18.000 visitors during the festival week. Together with the walk-home taxi service, Busara Buddies, this was well received and brought great motivation for the local population. “No power cut can shut downthe people, no power cut can shut down ya light”, sang festival artist Bamba Nazar. As a recognition for its success, Busara won the ZATI Award, given by the Zanzibar Association of Tourism Investors.

Busara organized the first Zanzibar Music Symposium in September. Sixty major artists, representing all music styles from the island came together for in-depth discussions on how to build audiences for local music. The Symposium included training sessions on creating press kits, biographies, access to radio, print media and internet. Yusuf Mahmoud’s conclusion after the Symposium was clear “Although the talents of musicians from Zanzibar are so advanced, we still need to improve ways of promoting our creativity to generate sustainable incomes for artists”, he said.

For several years, the festival has benefited from the expertise of two international technical experts, Pete Tidemann and Michael Murnane, who worked before and throughout the festival in providing classroom theory and practical training for East African sound and lighting engineers. With improved technical skills inmusicians more opportunities to show their talents in Africa. We continue to facilitate cultural interactions through technical resources and education.

Building networks
In July 2010 Busara participated in a seminar for African Festival Directors, organized by the ARTerial Network and hosted by Zanzibar International Film Festival. We are also active in a Music Festival Network for African, Caribbean and Pacific countries and during the past year exchanged ideas in meetings with music movers and shakers at Safiko Festival in La Reunion, Moshito trade fair in South Africa, Bayimba Festival in Kampala, GoDown’s Economy of Creativity Conference in Mombasa and WOMEX trade fair in Copenhagen. We also have teamed up with festival partners from South Africa and Senegal to mutually increase in-house management capacities.

With generous support from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Busara was finally able to purchase second-hand world-class technical equipment from the United States. By using the new equipment we are now able to showcase all artists in the technical settings they deserve.

At the time of writing this gear is being shipped across the oceans and inshallah will be on the island well in time for Sauti za Busara 2011. More Fire!