Mammoth crowds from all corners of the world are expected to gather during February in Zanzibar for a special 10th anniversary edition of the annual international music festival Sauti za Busara. The festival takes place during 14th -17th February 2013 at the Old Fort in Zanzibar. If present bookings and enquiries are anything to go by, the festival is set to attract its highest number of local and international visitors ever in 2013. The festival will celebrate a lifetime achievement of bringing together artists and audiences from around Africa and beyond with enriching cultural experiences, promoting cultural diversity and social development for the past 10 years.
Sauti za Busara is the annual music event in East Africa and widely known as ‘the friendliest festival on the planet’. This edition will feature 200 musicians: more than twenty five groups from East Africa and beyond; acoustic and electric, upcoming and established – all performing live.
The Old Fort will host three nights of non-stop live music, with the main programme continuing Friday through Sunday with performances from 5pm until 1am.
The festival also features African Music Films: documentaries, music videos and live concert footage, all focused on promoting the richness and diversity of African music as screened in the amphitheatre of the Old Fort.
Festival admission prices vary, with tickets for Tanzanians costing only 3,000/- TSh.
Headline artist for the 10th edition of Sauti za Busara is internationally acclaimed Baye Fall artist Cheikh Lo from Senegal. A superb singer and songwriter as well as a distinctive guitarist, percussionist and drummer he has personalized and distilled a variety of influences from West and Central Africa, to create a style that is uniquely his own. Cheikh Lô was born in 1955, to Senegalese parents in Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, not far from the border with Mali, where he grew up speaking Bambara (language of Mali), Wolof (language of Senegal) and French. During his teens he listened to all kinds of music, especially the Congolese rumba which was popular throughout Africa. At 21 he started singing and playing percussion with Orchestra Volta Jazz in Bobo Dioulasso. Youssou N’Dour who noticed his unique voice and helped develop Lo’s talent first encountered Lô as a session singer in 1989. “Whenever he sang the choruses I was overwhelmed by his voice,” explains N’Dour, “but I really got to know him from his cassette ‘Doxandeme’. I heard his voice and said “wow” – I found something in his voice that’s like a voyage through Burkina, Niger, Mali”.
On the album ‘Ne La Thiass’, Lô is joined on vocals by Youssou N’Dour (‘Guiss Guiss’ and ‘Set’) and by musicians from N’dour’s Super Etoile de Dakar. Lo’s signature sound – a semi acoustic, Spanish-tinged take on the popular mbalax style – was an instant success in Senegal gaining him a dedicated local following.
To celebrate ten years of Sauti za Busara, the festival showcases “Best of the Best”; audience favourites of past years including Tanzania’s DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra. One of Tanzania’s most popular bands, Mlimani Park Orchestra is still leading exponents of Tanzanian muziki wa dansi. Mlimani Park, aka Sikinde, have cooed their way into the hearts of Tanzanians with an endless string of hits sung and composed by the likes of Hassani Bitchuka, Muhiddin Maalim Gurumo, Cosmas Chidumule and Shaaban Dede. In Tanzania the first and foremost way of appreciating a song is usually through its lyrics. Mlimani are famous for their themes and the intricate poetry delivered by their lead singers. Intelligent and topical lyrics are a regular feature in Tanzanian music, however, it is really Mlimani’s instrumental sounds – the interplay of their guitars and finely honed horn arrangements that are their trademark, qualifying them as one of Africa’s outstanding bands.
Zanzibar’s Culture Musical Club will also showcase at the 10th edition and they remain the most prolific and successful taarab orchestra from East Africa. The club performs widely at concerts in Zanzibar town, but also frequently travels overseas. With hundreds of songs on the local market and six international CD releases, the group has been performing in Europe regularly since 1996, and in the past few years they have done shows in United States, Dominican Republic, Reunion and Japan.
Other main acts include Khaira Arby (Mali), Comrade Fatso and Chabvondoka (Zimbabwe), Atongo Zimba (Ghana), N’Faly Kouyaté (Guinea), Nathalie Natiembe (Reunion), Nawal & Les Femmes de la Lune (Comoros / Mayotte), Wazimbo (Mozambique)