Sauti Za Busara 201724/02/2017
Stone Town, Zanzibar’s streets were a buzz as Sauti Za Busara commenced on 8th February 2017. Crowds gathered for the Parade that began from Mnarani to Forodhani, where the heart of the festival was.
Swahili Encounters; a collaboration with Zanzibari and Moroccan artists opened the main stage and set the atmosphere for the 4 day festival: High energy!
Grace Barbé (Seychelles) then stole the audience’s heart with her amazing voice on main stage, while Rajab Suleiman & Kithara (Zanzibar) mesmerized the Amphitheatre, and Ze Spirits Band (Tanzania) kept it going thereafter.
It was the first day of Movers & Shakers and the topic was “Digital Opportunities, Challenges & Threats”. Guest speakers were Jude Clark of Joose Digital and Eddie Hatitye of MusicInAfrica.net. Their talk was so well presented, that most of the room started to question their social media footprint and needed advice following the talk.
The festival commenced again at 4.30pm where Sahra Halgan Trio (Somaliland) and Roland Tchakounte (Cameroon/France) rocked the crowd at the Forodhani stage. A warm up towards Batimbo Percussion Magique (Burundi) who left the crowd dumbstruck with their drumming skills on main stage.
The Amphitheatre mainly had artists from around East Africa. The line up on the second day were Afrijam Band (Tanzania), Rico & the Band (Zanzibar), Buganda Music Ensemble (Uganda) and CAC Fusion (Tanzania).
Loryzine (Reunion) won the hearts of the audience with their little English but electrifying performance. Until the 9th of February 2017, not many had heard a blend of traditional Moroccan music in Bob Marley’s tracks; Bob Maghrib (Morocco) had a few original songs but intrigued the audience with their Bob Marlye covers. Got to give it to them, not many can pull that off!
A very distinct sound of Tanzania was brought on to the main stage by Jagwa Music (Tanzania) that gave you a true feeling of being in Zanzibar. And Kenya’s Sarabi shut down the grounds with their high energy, political and inspiring performance.
Movers & Shakers got a little controversial with the topic being “Freedom of Expression vs. Arts Censorship”. Panellists were Nelson Mandela – Singer-songwriter, formerly of Sarabi Group, Kenya,
Mamou Daffe – Director, The Fondation Festival sur le Niger and Dr. Omar Abdalla Adam – Director, Board of Censors Zanzibar.
The festival spirit continued. Madalitso Band (Malawi) and Imena Cultural Triupe (Rwanda) performed at the Forodhani Stage while Chibete Zawose Family (Tanzania) opened the main stage. H_art The Band (Kenya) gave their 100% and the audience were now pumped for the night!
Isau Menses (Mozambique) brought a lovely vibe to the festival and Kyekyeku (Ghana) got everyone ready with his amazing performance for the highlight of the night Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band (Ghana/Germany).
The last day of the festival and of Movers & Shakers. Each day a mic was passed around where we introduced ourselves, which made it easier for everyone to connect after the meeting. The likes of F. John Herbert, Director of Legion Arts USA, Romain Poncelet of PRMA, La Reunion, GM of Coco Blue Zanzibar, Karsten Lapschies, Bruno Giusti of ROTOTOM, SunSplash – A European Reggae Festival, CEO of Busara Promotions, Yusuf Mahmoud just to mention a few, attended each day.
The last day was a chance to meet the artists and another panel where Kyekyeku – Singer-songwriter from Ghana, Mariam Hamdan – Songwriter-musician from Zanzibar and Journey Ramadhan, Festival Manager presented. The topic may have been a continuation of the previous day but very happy that it has started a conversation about the growth of the industry.
Karyna Gomes (Guinea Bissau) had everyone in twilight with her mesmerizing voice and soothing music with a touch of jazz. And the energy came back up when Roland Tchakounte (Cameroon/France) got on stage with some African style rock n’roll! Then Simba & Milton Gulli (Mozambique) brought some hip hop to the festival while Grammy Nominee Rocky Dawuni (Ghana) closed the 4 day festival with highs of reggae!
Sauti Za Busara 2017 came back strong after having missed 2016 due to lack of funds but it was amazing to see the festival come back with such a strong stance with support from all over the world. It goes to show the love for culture, music and art in a beautiful location where people from all corners travel for. The emphasis at the festival was uniting Africa. The hashtags #AfricaUnited and #SzB2017 were widely used on Twitter and Instagram to share the magic created over the 4 days festival in Stone Town, Zanzibar. We look forward to being there next year and the coming years.
Photo Credits: Sauti Za Busara Tumblr, Rashde Fidogo, Peter Bennett, Sadia Ibrahim, Ibra Muddy, Link Reuben, Markus Meissl, Masoud KhamisRead more Read less