The Beat Of Zanzibar Music

Zanzibar Music

Drums, zithers, violins, flutes, accordions, xylophones and a distinctive female voice are the ingredients of the enticing Taarab or Zanzibar music which is often heard in the streets of Stone Town. Taarab music was introduced by the Sultans who brought it over from Egypt. The music is a mosaic of different influences and styles, borrowed from Africa, Arabia and all over the Indian Ocean.

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The holy month of Ramadan marks the annual peak season for Taarab, when local people dance the night away in traditional, celebratory style. Probably the most famed representative of Taarab music is the elderly Bi Kidude who received numerous international awards for her lifetime achievements.

Jahazi Festival

The Jahazi Festival means "Inspiring learning through art, literature and music". Education, peace and many others themes will be discussed via, workshops, seminars and forums designed to stimulate discussion and to educate people on current issues. Famous jazz musicians and writers will be performing during the festival, which runs from 2-4 September.

ZIFF Festival

The Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) of the Dhow Countries - East Africa's largest cultural event - takes place in Zanzibar amongst the magnificent, historical venues of Stone Town; such as the Old Fort, the Forodhani Gardens, the Palace Museum and the Old Dispensary. The festival is scheduled annually in the first two weeks of July and celebrates the unique, cultural heritage of Africa, the Dhow countries of the Indian Ocean region and their global diaspora. The ZIFF Festival features an international film and video competition, exhibitions, music, theatre and performing arts, workshops, seminars, conferences and other related arts and cultural programs.

Sauti za Busara Festival

Every February, the Festival of Sauti za Busara celebrates all East African and Zanzibar music, ranging from Taarab to Bongo Flava to Jazz. Musicians mostly come from Zanzibar, Tanzania and the African countries, but international artists also take part.

Mwaka Kogwa

In many parts of Zanzibar, Mwaka Kogwa is celebrated to mark the arrival of the Persian New Year. The festival is most enthusiastically celebrated at Makunduchi in Southern Unguja, where ancient rituals and mock fights are performed. Since it has been officially recognized as a festival, visitors are most welcome to take part with an accredited guide.

Intro photo and gallery pictures 3&4 @ Robin Batista
Gallery picture 2 @ Peter Bennett

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