Artists & Bands
Bands - Tanzania
Bands - Zanzibar
Bands - East Africa
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You are here > City > Culture > Local Artists > East Africa
Eyuphuro (Mozambique) A rare musical feast from the island of Mozambique, in the north of the country and linked to the mainland by a 3.5 km toll bridge. Their music reflects the island’s role as a meeting point of African, Arabic and Latin cultures dating back to the eighth century, which has created a fusion of musical influences. Eyuphuro (meaning whirlwind in the Macua language) is also an important representative of traditional Mozambican rhythms such as tufo, namahandga, masepua, djarimane, morro and chakacha. These are long-established rhythms from the northern province of Nampula, bordering Tanzania, and the homeland of most of the band members. Eyuphuro were founded in 1981 by Omar Issa, Gimo Remane and vocalist Zena Bakar (previously a fishing woman) and soon became the most successful music group from Mozambique. In 1989 - 91 their tours of Europe and USA garnered much critical acclaim and they recorded Mama Mosambiki, one of the greatest recordings ever produced from the region. After a ten year break this superb and soulful band, led by the charismatic Zena Bakar, have happily reformed to share with us in Zanzibar their gently upbeat songs full of melancholy and powerful rhythm. RECORDINGS: Mama Msambiki (Real World, 1990) Yellela (Riverboat, 2001)
GidiGidi MajiMaji (Kenya) -One of the most popular bands in Kenya of the moment, this duo, based in Nairobi, have released two highly acclaimed albums which drawing on their Luo roots. take the music forward in a style which is uniquely urban and Kenyan. Like Daara J or Positive Black Soul from Senegal, they are one of the finest representative groups in this region, of the new African hip hop - roots fusion, and their recent album, Ismarwa (The World is Ours) was blessed with the production skills of fellow countryman Tedd Josiah. As well as being number one with the youth at home in Kenya, they have a growing international following which will be even more massive after they ruff up the dhow festival massive! RECORDING: Ismarwa, 2000
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Kenge Kenge Orutu System (Kenya)- Ready to set the festival ablaze with their fiery rhythms and explosive performance, this group plays a variety of hand made instruments with origins in the Luo regions of Lake Victoria region in Kenya. Apart from pure authentic traditional music the group plays contemporary Benga music that appeals to both urban and rural set-ups. This has made it the most known and sought after group currently in Kenya.
Korongo Jam (Cameroun) to be confirmed
Nordic Black Theatre (Africa/Norway) The Nordic Black Theatre is a multicultural group of talented artists, from many countries including Uganda, Tanzania, the Seychelles, Guinea, Nigeria, South Africa and Ethiopia, all based in Norway. They will be presenting a musical theatre production, Bob Marley Uprising in Babylon By Bus, written by Sigbjorn Nedland and directed by Cliff A Moustache, exploring the worldwide phenomenon and legacy of Bob Marley and his music. The audience is invited on a trip around the world, to situations and locations where Bob Marley’s influence, twenty years after his passing on, is still strongly felt today.
Oliver Mtukudzi + The Black Spirits (Zimbabwe) Oliver Mtukudzi is truly one of Southern Africa's greatest musicians, writers and performers. His music is already familiar to most people in Tanzania, especially on the mainland where you can hear his music played on radio stations almost daily. Likewise in USA and Europe where recent releases such as Tuku Music and Paivepo have spent much of the past year at the top of the world music charts. His career has spanned twenty five years and he has composed forty one original albums, nearly all of them best-sellers. With Zimbabwean Independence in 1980, Tuku and the Black Spirits produced "Africa", one of the most important albums of its time, and with the two hits it spawned, "Zimbabwe" and "Mazongonyedze", the fledgling country founded one of its first great voices. From Independence to 1997, Mtukudzi released two albums every year, establishing himself as a producer, an arranger, a prolific song-writer and, with his famous "big voice", a formidable lead singer.Tuku has, in fact, been so innovative in these various fields that his music is now widely referred to as ‘Tuku Music’ being quite distinct from any other Zimbabwean style. This is not to say that there are no recognisable influences in his work - the traditional forms of the mbira, the South African mbaqanga style, and the popular Zimbabwean music style called jiti, all affect it deeply - but these, like katekwe, the traditional drumming patterns of his clan, the Korekore, are very much absorbed into an art which is now indisputably his own. Yet apart from the individuality of his music, and more recent and prolific film and screen appearances, Tuku's enduring popularity has largely resulted from his powers as a lyricist. Most of his songs focus on the social and economic issues that govern people's daily lives and, with an infectious sense of humour and optimism that prevails through all his music, his appeal extends to young and old alike. In fact, his latest release “Bvuma – Tolerance” has created more than a few waves in the media. The lyrics on a couple of the tracks have created much debate, especially from the title track ‘Wasakara’ which has been adopted by opposition parties in Zimbabwe as a ‘party anthem’. The controversial publicity has succeeded in making ‘Bvuma - Tolerance’ the biggest seller ever in the course of two months in the history of the local record company, Zimbabwe Music Corporation (ZMC). back to top
Pedro Espi-Sanchis (S Africa) Known to millions in Southern Africa as Pedro the Music Man, through his regular shows on CCV-TV’s Kideo programme as well as country-wide schools tours. Pedro’s mission is about making accessible the magical experience of African music. Throughout the Festival Pedro will be running music and storytelling workshops for children of Zanzibar, as well as showing them different ways to make instruments out of everyday materials.
“We on the Comoros we had two main forms of music: there is twarab music, this is kind of traditional, because it emanates from our from our Islamic heritage and the strong connections to Zanzibar, and there are the songs and dances accompanied by our local ngoma drums. Then came all these Western instruments like the guitar and we tried to make Comorian music with these. But they did not work with the twarab, we played what we call ‘modern music’, or variete. It is only recently that we arrived to get again at the quality of the twarab, and to include local rhythms into our music.’ (Ahamada Mohamed, founding member of Sambeco, talking to Werner Graebner at the time of their last visit to Zanzibar in 1994). Long awaited return to Zanzibar for this special group from the Comoros islands, who will be joined on stage by Zainaba Ahmed, Grand Comoro’s “Voix d’Or.” “The beauty of a man or woman lies neither in the colour of their skins nor in their figure. The beauty of a person is in his or her heart.” Sambeco - Sambe, dizim records 2000
Smadj (Tunisia/France) “A virtuoso in crafts both ancient and modern” - THE WIRE MAGAZINE Tunisian born Jean-Pierre Smadja, or 'Smadj', was influenced from an early age by an eclectic mix of Oriental and Brazilian music, jazz, Funk and Soul. As a guitarist, Smadj toured the jazz clubs of Paris with a variety of groups for 10 years. When he later began to fuse this jazz sound with the Eastern , African and Latin grooves from his youth, Paris audiences were captivated. He called this new sound "Tatoum". After collaborating live with groups such as French band Faudel and Fela Kuti's drummer Tony Allen, he began experimenting with electronic music, finally creating an extraordinary fusion of electronic sounds, oriental melodies, Arabic and North African instrumentation, Parisian jazz-funk and drum ‘n bass. His latest two albums have intrigued and excited the music media across Europe, and have been backed up with a number of stunning live performances in European clubs and festivals.Live and unleashed, Smadj controls all samples and electronic programming, whilst also playing oud and guitar. He will be joined by a guest vocalist and flute / violin player for his shows in Zanzibar."Equilibriste was an awesome record....... it has all the pounding, pneumatic power of early electro pioneers, such as Afrika Bambaata, as well as the flourish of Eastern-tinged jazz. This is 21st century music; wholly conversant with new technology yet effortlessly in tune with the timeless tenets of rhythm and melody. Essential." * * * * * 'Album of The Month' - Kevin le Gendre, MARIE CLAIRE - Oct. 2000 “Impossibly brilliant”- i-D MAGAZINE.RECORDINGS: 'Equilibriste' (Melt 2000, 1999) 'New Deal' (Electric Melt, 2000)
unity Dub Sound System (UK) -Unity Dub has been DJing dub-influenced music for 10 years. He was originally turned on to reggae by the late 70s ska revival of UK Two-Tone bands such as The Specials and The Beat. This led him first to collecting records then to playing them to like-minded friends before going 'public' in 1991. He has since visited Jamaica to learn more about the music, meet musicians and DJs and to collect rare dub-plates. As his collection grew he found out more about how reggae influenced other forms of music and the blurring of genres between western and eastern music. His music is dub-based but combines other influences such as break beats, drum and bass, house, latino, afro-beat, North African and Asian sounds.
Yela-Wa (Congo) to be confirmed
Zein l’Abdin Trio (Kenya)-Born on the island of Lamu, Kenya, the young Zein was surrounded by music as his father played host to the Arab traders. He started to play the oud in the 60s in Mombasa, and subsequently became akin to a musical father for the Kenyan taarab scene, with all the famous singers at some point or another passing through his group. More recently he has gone back to basics, playing oud with two greatly talented ngoma percussionists, performing contemporary compositions as well as old songs that Zein has unearthed and revived from Lamu and the Northern Swahili Coast. Back to the festival for the second time by popular demand! RECORDINGS: ‘The Swahili Song Book’ (dizim records)