‘Music communicates with all of us, regardless of age, gender, language, religion or politics. It teaches us to respect our differences and value diversity.’ – Yusuf Mahmoud, director of the Sauti Za Busara festival.
One of several festivals in Zanzibar, Sauti za Busara, aka the Zanzibar Music Festival, unites music lovers from around the world in a three-day celebration of peace and cooperation. The name means ‘sounds of wisdom’ and Sauti Za Busara, proudly lays claim to its reputation as the friendliest festival on the planet.
The event has a large following, and is the best attended of all Zanzibar festivals, with ticket sales increasing by 500% since the inaugural event in 2004. This is a huge boost to Zanzibar tourism, with Zanzibar accommodation establishments enjoying record figures during this time every year.
Some of the highlights of the 2015 event include a ‘Best of the Best’ feature with all the audience favourites from past events, and an African Music Film festival, featuring music videos, documentaries and footage from live concerts. The festival market place will have a range of goods on sale from food, to fashion and CD’s to curios.
Arts professionals from all over Africa, and beyond, will have the opportunity to compare notes at daily networking workshops during the event, and a variety of side-line activities will also be on the go, such as traditional drumming and dancing, dhow races, fashion shows, open-mic sessions, taarab orchestra shows and lots of after-parties.
There are over 200 performers booked for this year’s event, which takes place from 12 to 15 February in Stone Town, Zanzibar. Although the focus is firmly on Tanzanian talent, there are acts from all over Africa including Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Mozambique and Madagascar.
Tanzanian performers are eligible to participate in the ‘Songs for Peace’ competition taking place on the Thursday and Sunday during the festival and stand a chance of winning fantastic cash prizes. To be eligible for this fixture, the band must compose and perform a song, including Swahili lyrics, around the theme ‘Peace and Unity’.
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