Zanzibar to host the first Mashariki Jazz and Folk Music Fest

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The new live music festival will feature emerging and established artists including Msafiri Zawose (Tanzania), Makadem (Kenya), Lily Kadima (Uganda) and Siti and The Band (Zanzibar). The others are TaraJazz (Zanzibar), Wanawake Waridi (Zanzibar), Mopao Swahili Jazz (Tanzania), Sandra Nankoma (Uganda), Tofa Boy (Zanzibar) and Fadhilee Itulya (Kenya).

Organizers say the festival will feature indigenous and contemporary music from the region while encouraging, nurturing and showcasing young talent.

“This festival aims to be a platform where musicians are well paid, whether established or not,” Mashariki festival co-founder John Kagaruki told Music In Africa. “Normally, concerts are organized by promoters or organizations with high overhead costs and do not necessarily offer fair remuneration to artists, especially in Africa. We are grateful to have found a sponsor willing to cover the artists’ fees.

Anna Kattoa, member of Wanawake Waridi, said: “We see this festival as a platform that can take musicians’ careers to the next level. When emerging artists and top professional musicians come together, great networks and collaborations occur because you can interact with music that you might never have heard of otherwise.

A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales will go to support the Dhow Country Music Academy in Zanzibar, which is facing a financial crisis. While the school has received support from international donors and diplomatic missions over the years, it now faces an uphill battle to keep its doors open. The institution plays an important role in the teaching, preservation and promotion of the music of the Indian Ocean archipelago.

“DCMA not only teaches and promotes traditional culture and heritage through music, but it is also home to a community of young musicians who are looking for alternatives to make a living as creatives,” Kattoa said.

Festival tickets are available here.


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