Zanzibar Taarab/Kidumbak Ensemble

Bio

Like much of the island’s culture, the music of Zanzibar is mosaic of different influences and style, borrowed from all over the Indian Ocean and beyond. The best example for this creative blending of traditions is taarab music, the national sound of the Islands. Taarab music has flourished since the first decades of the 20th century, becoming the region’s first mass mediated music. Drawing in influences from the Arab world, India, Indonesia and the West, taarab blended these with the classical traditions of Swahili poetry, local rythms and melody. Zanzibar Taarab/Kidumbak Ensemble – a group of teachers and students from Dhow Countries Music Academy - captures the great energy of western Indian Ocean cultural expression and has a program of great variety, easily appreciated by any audience interested in hearing instrumental and vocal colors, improvisations, tonalities and techniques of the fusion of Arab and African musics. The high quality of the performers of the Zanzibar Taarab/Kidumbak Ensemble makes this group distinctive in projecting an excellence of Arab/African musical fusion. Taarab orchestras closely resemble classical Egyptian orchestras with instruments like oud, qanun, tablah, violin, double bass, but also accordion. Taarab is the most common style of music performed at weddings and other celebrations on the islands of Zanzibar. Kidumbak is a form of traditional Zanzibari music, popular in the villages. It is influenced greatly by taarab. Given the difficulty in obtaining instruments outside of urban areas, local musicians invented their own instruments, the result of which is music with a sound similar to taarab. Instruments used in in. include violin, dumbak drums, sanduku - one string bass made from a wooden box and a stick, a pair of shakers, a pair of small sticks and a stool. Kidumbak is mainly performed at weddings and often accompanied by slow, sensual dance.

Taarab and kidumbak are the musical germ cells of the Dhow Countries Music Academy. Before DCMA was established, traditional music in Zanzibar was close to be forgotten. There were only a couple of tradtional taarab groups, and very few young people willing to keep the heritage. But since DCMA started its mission the situation has changed. Now you can hear taarab in radio, TV, restaurants, hotels. Internet is full of taarab clips. The DCMA has gained an ever increasing international reputation and proudly won the Roskilde award in October 2010 for teaching traditional music. Zanzibar Taarab/Kidumbak Ensemble has toured extensively in Africa, Europe and Middle East (Germany, France, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Latvia, United Arab Emirates, Zimbabwe, Kenya). The virtuosity of each of the performers is keeping the visual and audible attention of the audience. The Ensemble is proving that that the beauty of Zanzibar lies not only in pristine beaches and the gentle, blue ocean, but also in its people and their culture. Music in Zanzibar is a living tradition, telling stories of the days past and present.

Music

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Dhow Countries Music Academy
Zamani/Taarab
12:23
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15
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Dhow Countries Music Academy
Nnazama/Taarab
09:37
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11
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Dhow Countries Music Academy
Longa Nahawand/Taarab
04:05
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13
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Dhow Countries Music Academy
Langa Nahawand pt.2./Taarab
08:52
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10
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Dhow Countries Music Academy
Kidumbaki/Kidumbak
13:32
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12
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Dhow Countries Music Academy
Cheo Chako/Taarab
12:03
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11
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Dhow Countries Music Academy
Ashikibaya/Taarab
07:45
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10

Photos

TZZanzibar, Tanzania
In operation since: 
2002

Contact

+255 777 416 529
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