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Zanzibar

PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 8:19 pm
by Andrewq
Dreaming of that holiday on a tropical island could be popular pastime on a grey February afternoon. Should it be Jamaica, Mauritius, Seychelles, Maldives –well no. Start saving now as Sauti za Busara 2012 is only 51 weeks away.
I was working on a project in Tanzania so made it across to Zanzibar for one night only but it was well worth it.
The festival details can be found on the web site http://www.busara.org and the line up was impressive by any standards. Held in the old fort in the open air there was dancing, sitting or standing space for around 5000 and a raised seating area at the back.
Entry was 25 USD for the night and 52 USD for the full 5 night programme with special prices for residents, which gave a good audience mix.
Each set was around an hour with slick 15 minute changeovers- especially impressive as most bands had at least 8 members. In fact the economics of the event are truly baffling, flying in bands and their equipment from Senegal, Benin and Reunion let alone the group of 8 that made up Sukiafrica Sukiyaki Allstars ( a tip for a future Womad) from Japan, Korea, Togo, Cameroon and Zimbabwe ( the Chiwonsi). There must have been at least 60 on stage during the course of the evening.

This was my entertainment on the night:

5:00pm Sauda (Tanzania)
5:55pm Les Frères Sissoko (Senegal)
7:00pm Sukiafrica Sukiyaki Allstars (Pan Africa / Far East
8:20pm Black Roots (Zanzibar)
9:10pm Groove Lélé (Reunion)
10:15pm Orchestre Poly Rythmo de Cotonou (Benin)
11:25pm Sinachuki Kidumbak (Zanzibar)
12:20am Mlimani Park Orchestra (Tanzania)



The music flowed effortlessly, from the koras ,percussion and violin combination of Freres Sissoko, to the Asian-African fusion of Sukiafrica , the Maloya slave music of Reunion, the full 10 piece sound of the 70s from O.P.R.de Cotonou, Taraab from Zanaibar and classic Tanzania dance music from Mlimani to end the night, although by that time my dancing legs were in retreat.
A small amphitheatre was showing films which despite its proximity to the stage, was well soundproofed from the music and there were plenty of stalls of local handmade crafts for sale. The food stalls just outside the fort were the real distraction, with their offerings of fresh barbequed tuna, barracuda, giant prawns and pretty much anything from the sea that is edible.
Stone Town itself is a wonderful series of buildings and alleyways, although it’s become a bit touristy since my first visit ... years ago but it still feels very real and despite the wealth that the tourists have brought to the island, as usual, it has not reached the local population.
There are plenty of hotels in town, ranging from 20 – 100 USD but you have to book early or risk staying in a place without electricity, which in 30 + humid degrees was challenging. In fact the only caveat was the heat – this is the hottest time of the year in Zanzibar and due the lack of rain, the hydro-electric power stations are on severe rationing. But by 5pm when the programme kicks off, it’s a balmy 24C and nothing that a few cold beers can’t cure.
It is what it says on the T shirts – the friendliest festival – and the best place for African music under African skies.

Re: Zanzibar

PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 8:38 pm
by Des
Stop it! Sooooooo jealous.

Re: Zanzibar

PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 8:46 pm
by judith
Zanzibar always seemed so exotic and so impossibly far away to me. The only realness about it I have ever known is given by the cloves in my spice rack and even that is a whiff of scent. Now, reading your account of the place, the festival of Sauti za Busara, it feels very real and accessible. Thanks, Andrew.

Re: Zanzibar

PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2011 12:27 am
by Alan
You lucky thing Andrew, sounds wonderful

Yusuf Mahmoud of Busara Promotions, Zanzibar was Charlie's charming guest back in Nov 2005 - see http://www.charliegillett.com/playlist. ... November05

Charlie's bulletin begins.. "if you have never been to Zanzibar, put it at the top of your list of places to visit. Just be warned: you may never want to leave."

And here are some links to the festival website - http://www.busaramusic.org/festivals/2011/index.php

Thanks for giving us a taste Andrew!

Re: Zanzibar

PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2011 6:55 pm
by Andrewq
Thanks for the flashback to 2005 Alan - I remember the interview, which probably whet my appetite for the festival : I may even have kept a recording of that show on my trusty
cassettes, somewhere. It's coming up to the anniversary of Charlie's passing and I notice that Jamie is having a couple of gigs on 10th and 16th March so we should all try to get to at least one of them and mark the occasion.

Re: Zanzibar

PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2011 8:27 pm
by Jamie Renton
Andrewq wrote:I notice that Jamie is having a couple of gigs on 10th and 16th March so we should all try to get to at least one of them.


Thanks Andrew, I've got one on the 3rd as well:

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=17180

Re: Zanzibar

PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2011 8:27 pm
by Jamie Renton
Andrewq wrote:I notice that Jamie is having a couple of gigs on 10th and 16th March so we should all try to get to at least one of them.


Thanks Andrew, I've got one on the 3rd as well:

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=17180