Friday, September 15, 2017

Fiesta leave arusha in frenzy

 

By Paul Owere

Arusha. Alikiba was forced to ‘Seduce’ the audience thrice, Aslay made a statement as a solo artiste and Ben Pol went on some kamikaze mission as he threw himself to an ecstatic audience. Warning, don’t try this again Ben!

This was the Tigo Fiesta at its best as it proved to be the toast of the weekend at Sheikh Amri Abeid Stadium.

The northern tourist circuit had been granted a rare opportunity to kick start the annual fanfare that hosts the cream of the industry, one that for the past three years has gone to Mwanza.

The usually quiet environs of the Sheikh Amri Abeid Stadium burst into life with plenty of activity as petty businessmen cashed in on their merchandise which featured some of the handmade crafts to the Maasai Shuka.

With billboards strategically places at almost every corner of A -Town, there was an air of longing from the residents as PA systems boomed announcements on the streets.

Revellers, mainly youth, had come from almost every corner of the rapidly tourist city to witness this entertainment spectacle that attracts tens of thousands annually.

And here they were, swapping the mundane trappings of their daily lives to rub shoulders with the super stars that on an ordinary day they would only see on Televisions and social media.

They had travelled from far and near to have a glimpse of their homemade stars especially the ‘Weusi’ who are identified as Arusha born with a brand of hip hop that has kept them rooted to their humble beginnings.

Apart from the home grown talent the lineup was rich with artistes such as Vanessa Mdee, Nandy, Ben Pol, Country Boy, Rich Mavoko, Shilole, and Saida Karoli putting up one of the best shows that Arusha has seen in recent times. To most Bongo Flava artistes it is a season to stand up and get counted and it is not a surprise that many of them release hit singles towards the season’s events. It was perhaps Dogo Aslay’s night to host his peers in what to some was a statement of intent that he has finally come of age and can hold out on his own as a solo artiste after taking a break from the Yamoto Band.

He struck a code with the audience straight away with songs such as ‘Mhudumu’, ‘Mama’ , ‘Likizo’ plus several others as the over 10,000 audience went into frenzy.

The years of transition under the tutelage of Mkubwa Fella have really turned him into a darling of many as they sang and dance along with him.

It was a return on the big stage for Linah who welcomed her first baby several months ago and it seems she is ready to let it fly.

She might not the same starlets that was introduced to this very stage a couple of years ago she showed that she still has what it takes to survive the rigors of the game.

Though her baby fat is still evident she showed that she was putting in some work as she didn’t hold back an inch.

The night however went to the usual suspects with Alikiba being on top of his craft as he took his fans down a road to familiar, one that made them brave the chill of Arusha.

And they made him do it their style as they requested for his current hit song three times, and even then they couldn’t get enough of him.

Vanessa Mdee after the recent break up with beau Jux was up to her penchant of skimpy dressing even when the weather dictated against it. The fans just didn’t care all they wanted was her music.

Feza Kessy, yes, that chic from Big Brother Africa. She, too, is on a root towards revival as she got on stage wrapped in a Maasai Shuka, as usual with her trademark tinted hair, this time it was blonde!

There was a plus for the organisers as security was at its best as the demons of the past were finally banished.

The mobile money ticketing system too was another as it didn’t require festival goers to stand in long queues as it has been in the past.

This could only be the beginning of the Tigo Fiesta with next stop being Musoma a town that missed out on the action last year, but there is every evidence that by the end of the nine weeks Tanzania will have got the best of Bong Flava.

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Aslay the crown prince of Bongo Flava

 

By Paul Owere

Tanzanian's showbiz has been a very noisy place lately to the tune of threatening an outbreak of a fully blown conflict, shaking the very foundations that the nascent Bongo Flava was built on.
The teams have been formed and the missiles have been flying all over the place, the issues at hand are rather very unmusical to say the least.
However, far from the maddening crowd a Prince has been born and he is taking away the spotlight from the so-called kings and queens of the industry with compositions that will last long enough to tell the tale. Dogo Aslay a former member of the Yamoto Band has taken the Bongo Flava fraternity by storm with his releases in the solo project just months after they split.
He has been churning hit after hit with songs such as Mhudumu, Likizo, Usiitie Doa featuring Hadija Kopa, Angekuona, Pusha becoming household names.
Unfortunately, with the nature of Bongo Flava industry not many seem to be paying attention to the great lyrical content and the art of storytelling that this lad exudes in his compositions.
One pundit and composer Hassan Ndama who has worked with several artistes admits that they are songs that don’t need promotion to be played as the content resonates with both young and old fans alike. “The songs that he released this year alone are a manifestation that he has grown and maybe he needs just a little spark to take on the continental market,” says Hassan.
Though there was a time when record labels and managers committed themselves more seriously to developing the careers of their recording artistes, most managers today want a complete package.
“Today, it is much harder to find a record label or a management committed to this goal. When a major label signs a new artist or band, they presume the act has sufficient musical, songwriting, and performance talent, and are ready for the big time,” he says.
Singer Barnaba is among the accomplished musicians of this era given his ability to write, play multiple instruments and perform, he admits to be an avid listener and follower of Aslay’s music.
In an interview with EATV’s eNewz he says Aslay’s way is perhaps how to do it as opposed to what many of today’s artistes are doing.
“I like what Aslay is doing, he write a good story that we can relate with for example in his song Mhudumu, Danga, Pusha  and even Usiitie Doa,” he told eNewz.
He adds: He is not using so much energy to get his music to the public but when you go out there it what is being played in the bars and the good thing is that he has got people talking.
These remarks must have been very disturbing for the noisy neighbours who for some reason believe Bongo Flava revolves around the beef that they create at will for Aslay has let the audience talk.
 Maybe the wait is finally over for that breath of fresh air in what seems to be congested room saturated with Afrobeats.
When the Yamoto Band was formed they seemed to be destined for bigger things and that is what it looked like in the early days before the disruptive forces of the industry got the better of them.
With Aslay as the pillar on which the band was built by Said Fella aka Mkubwa Fella, Aslay has proved that he has what it takes go on his own and the band was only slowing down his progress for the years that they were together.
Mkubwa had a well calculated plan which unfortunately failed to take care of the individual egos of these up and coming artistes.
They had discipline; very well organized, all under the tutelage of Mkubwa Fella aka Said Fella and they were soon enjoying the fruits of hard work. They were stars who were destined for greatness.
Their 2014 hit single Nitakupwelepweta is still one of the biggest songs to be released by a Tanzanian band in the modern era.
The following year, they came up with hits such as Mahaba Niuwe and Cheza kwa Madoido and quickly rose to regional prominence.
However, since the release of Mama in February 2016, fame and fortune seems to have worked against them and it wasn’t a surprise to see each band member pursue a solo project.
Fingers have been pointed and unfriendly remarks too have been made for what seems to be thunderous fall for a group that was once the envy of many.
What was clear is that they all wanted to be recognized as forces of their own making rather than a collective unit that Fella had made them become.
Speaking to Bongo 5, the prominent businessman and promoter, absolves Dogo Aslay of any blame, saying it was being economical with the truth for each artiste to try to gain prominence than use the group for growth.
“When Yamoto was born, I wanted Alsay to hold the hands of the others so that they become popular. But business has changed and groups are no longer in demand. The fee for a group is very different compared to that of an individual artiste,” says Fella, of the situation.
But why did Fella absolve Dogo Aslay of the group’s collapse? Did he become too selfish for the group?
May be he was right because as a group, the other three were always bound to drag their feet at the expense of the multitalented singer who was a star long before the group was formed.
Last weekend in Arusha where he was performing at the Tigo Fiesta the dimunitive artiste showed how the years of transition under the tutelage of Mkubwa Fella had really turned him into a darling of the audience.
His performance was accomplished, though he is still miles away from the self proclaimed kings and lions of the day, there is every indications that with some slight polish he could well be the crown prince destined for the throne.

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Lupita joins in fund raising

 

Award winning actress Lupita Nyong’o joined other celebrities in the US to help raise money for the victims of Hurricane Harvey in Houston and Hurricane Irma in Florida, in the Hand in Hand Telethon campaign that has raised more than $14 million.

Hollywood stars gave their contributions in different ways, including manning the help line telephones while others sang in the benefits concert and donated food stuffs and money.

The money raised will be used to aid the victims from the two hurricanes.

“Thank you for calling in! $14M raised and counting! Hurricane Relief #handinhand,” wrote Lupita Nyongo on her Instagram page.

Hurricane Harvey became the first major hurricane in the USA since Wilma in 2005. It mostly affected people in Texas and its environs.

Hurricane Irma is currently still active causing its havoc in the state of Florida.

At least 70 people died during Hurricane Harvey, and 22 deaths have been reported in the U.S. from Hurricane Irma.

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Zari splashes cash on new ride

 

Life on the fast lane has its demands, without which you are basically a no body and that is exactly what socialite Zari is out to prove.

Diamond Platinumz’s has bought a brand new Mercedes Benz E 250 CDI estimated to be worth at least $79,000.

A seemingly excited Zari posted a series of pictures of the front and rear of the brand new car with captions ‘Welcome home baby’ and ‘That’s hot, taking baby home.

This comes barely a week after her nemesis, King Lawrence, who has all along opposed her relationship to the Tanzanian musician, unveiled his new Mercedes Benz AMG GT.

The two have been trading barbs on social media ever since.

Last week, King Lawrence flaunted his new ride when he posted a series of pictures while refueling his German machine.

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Friday, September 8, 2017

Nahreel earns Super eight nod at Coke Studio africa



Producer and singer Nahreel

Producer and singer Nahreel 

By Paul Owere

Dar es Salaam. When he first hit the studios to come up with their breakthrough singles not many took them seriously, four years down the road since Bokodo was release not the same can be said of the duo.

Nahreel has since evolved into one of East Africa’s most celebrated music producers of our time. This year the multi-talented Bongo Flava artiste and producer return to Coke Studio Africa in the Super Eight category.

Nahreel will be producing original music and collaboration fusions from the following super pairings of Mr Bow (Mozambique) and Jah Prayzah (Zimbabwe) who are paired with Uganda’s Ykee Benda and Nandy (Tanzania) and Betty G (Ethiopia).

The new season is set to premiere in more than 30 countries across Africa from September this year.

Speaking on his second return to Coke Studio Africa the season is rather crazy in the sense that no one knows what to expect.

The producers are really involved in the new season in terms of their craft. I love the versatility because artists and producers have been drawn from more African countries. I also love all the artists I produced this season, they all came with new ideas. I really enjoyed working with the likes of Sami Dan from Ethiopia and Laura from Mauritius,”he says.

He adds: Coke Studio is always a learning experience for any artiste and now I feel like I am a better artiste just by interacting with the lot who always have a different vision. I have always loved producing African music.

Nahreel is among Africa’s 8 super producers enlisted by Coke Studio Africa this year and tasked with engineering music collaborations and fusions among the show’s artists drawn from 18 African countries.

The rest of the producers include Sketchy Bongo and DJ Maphorisa from South Africa, Gospel On Da Beatz and MasterKraft from Nigeria, Killbeatz from Ghana, Shado Chris from Ivory Coast and Gemini Major from Malawi.

In 2015, Nahreel produced music mash ups between Maurice Kirya from Uganda and Fid Q from Tanzania on the show.

In 2016, Nahreel was also at Coke Studio as part of Navy Kenzo made up of Nahreel and Aika and were paired alongside Mozambican rapper Dama Do Bling.

This season’s show will be broadcasted in more than 30 countries across Africa and will have artistes and producers from South Africa, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Angola, Uganda, Kenya, Togo, Mauritius, Madagascar, Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo and Cameroon.

The past edition featured artistes and producers from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, Mozambique, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire and Togo. South Africa had its own show.

This year Coke Studio Africa and Coke Studio South Africa have been merged into one platform. According to Coke Studio organisers, participating artistes are chosen based on a combination of market research, radio charts, playlists and advice from industry specialists from across Africa.

Coke Studio is a non-competitive show that brings together diverse African music talent together for a world-class show. It also gives upcoming artistes the opportunity to work with some of the best local and international music talent.

The show brings together artistes of different genres, ages and regions for a music fusion experience.

The show has featured award winning artistes like Jason Derulo, Neyo and Trey Songz, who have not only mentored African musicians, but also recorded and released songs with them.

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Friday, September 8, 2017

Spotlight on Arusha as Tigo Fiesta kicks off

Jamaican artiste Shaggy participates in a

Jamaican artiste Shaggy participates in a traditional dance which is part of the Fiesta tour. PHOTO | FILE 

By Paul Owere

Dar es Salaam. Arusha is Tanzania’s gateway to the northern tourist circuit that is home to some of the world’s unique attraction which includes the Serengeti, Ngorongoro and the Kilimanjaro among others.

These attraction makes it a dream place for many tourists both local and international who stopover before their different expeditions take shape.

This weekend, the tourist city is in the spotlight as it hosts the launch of the annual Tigo Fiesta entertainment extravaganza at the Sheikh Amri Abeid Stadium with a host of local artistes gracing the stage.

This will be the first time that Arusha City aka A- Town hosts the opening event of the festival which is now 16 years.

This time around it is a local show by local artistes who are adored countrywide because of their chart topping hits.

The stage has been set for the big day for a city that was once notorious for hooliganism during such concerts leading to the cancellation of some gigs in the past.

The festival which has in the past comes with different themes every year has been christened ‘Tumekusoma’.

Some of the past themes were ‘Sambaza Upendo’ (Spread Love), ‘Twenzetu’ One Love, Bhaaasi, Hakuna Majotroo that became instant house hold names.

Work on security and stage setup was in its final stages by Primetime Promotions with hundreds of security personnel set to be deployed in and around the stadium.

Speaking exclusively to s early this week Tigo’s marketing manager William Mpinga said hooliganism is a thing of the past and the city was ready to host the annual opening event. “We and our partners have done everything possible to make sure that every concert goers comes, enjoys the festival and leave safely at their own leisure,” says Mpinga.

He adds: Whatever is in the rumour mill about hooliganism are things that happened in the past before we took over the partnership to run this festival.

An Arusha based journalist attached to this paper revealed to the beat that CCTV cameras had been installed in and around the stadium to oversee the events on Saturday.

“I have been inside the stadium and from the look of things, great detail has been taken to ensure everything goes smoothly during the concert,” he says.

There is every indication that a lot of ground work has been done give the reputation that Arusha left on them in 2011 when goons robbed concert goers either on their way to or on their return.

What is at stake?

The party trail which shall then kick off a countrywide tour ahs in the past build a reputation as a career launch pad, a talent search and a traditional music showcase.

Clouds Media Group and Tigo have released the list of artistes who are set to perform and as promised it is an all local line-up; something they say was due to the local demand. According to Mpinga Bongo Flava has made giant strides in the past two decades something that he says warrants a celebration.

“We have tried that route before and for many years. Though we can say it delivered results, the time is now right for us to explore what our own artistes can offer the audience that celebrates them,” says the source.

The artistes that have so far been revealed include AliKiba, Jux, Christian Bela, Joh Makini, Mr Blue and Saida Karoli among others.

This to some of the named artistes will be a pay day that none can say no to and it will mark the return of Saida Karoli as the festival will finally grant her the opportunity to meet her countrywide audience.

Last year’s trial of an all African cast might have worked for the organisers given the astronomical fees they have to pay for the Western artistes to perform here, it, however, didn’t board very well with most revellers.

The talent search programme called Super Nyota which runs parallel to the tour has in the past years unearthed talent that have come to dominate the industry such as Ney Lee, Darasa, Rachel and even Ruby who rebelled against the establishment last year.

The programme returns as part of the side events that will take place alongside the festival in the coming two months.

Equally the festival is set to host a traditional dance contest, one that brings cultural troupes in a showcase of some of the unique African dances, with some being on the verge of extinction.

Organisers have christened the contest ‘Tamadunika’ and they say it is only through such that today’s generation can have firsthand experience of such dances.

“As much as it is dominated by today’s generation of artistes, we find it necessary to keep it grounded to our traditions as Tanzanians who have a heritage to protect,” Joseph Kusaga once told The Beat.

History

The party trail, which is now called Tigo Fiesta was born in the late 90s with the first show taking place at Slipway in Dar es Salaam, by then it was known as ‘Summer Jam’ but due to negative publicity it had to undergo some rebranding to suit the demands of concert goers.

For the last decade the festival has continued to grow to accommodate more local artistes, genres and regions.

It has also over the years featured high profile performances from international artistes such as Shaggy, Kate De Luna, Lil Kim, Joe Thomas, Busta Rhymes, Koffi Olomide, Rick Ross, J Martins, Bracket, Yemi Alade, Ludacris, Tecno, Davido, Wizkid and many others.

The party trail that is into last half of its second decade has in the past left a rich trail of history that has kept thousands in the country and beyond entertained.

However apart from the artistes who reap big during this season there are several business that target this season especially in the hospitality industry.

Apart from Arusha the Tigo Fiesta 2017 – Tumekusoma festivities will take place in Kahama, Musoma, Mwanza, Tabora and Dodoma regions respectively. The festival will then move to Iringa, Songea and Njombe before rocking Sumbawanga, Morogoro, Tanga, Moshi, Mtwara Regions with a grand finale set for Dar in November.

With the change of tact and approach, potential concert goers are anxiously waiting for what their stars can provide in the absence of foreign backup!

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Friday, September 1, 2017

Why beauty works in the entertainment industry

Do looks really count: Bongo Flava singer

Do looks really count: Bongo Flava singer Snura. PHOTO | FILE 

The Beat. There is as age-old advice not to judge a book by a cover, but regardless of this fact most people do and even in the age where managers make judgments about who to hire, who to fire, who to promote and who shouldn’t move up the corporate ladder based upon how they look.

The facts are that, on average, handsome men earn five percent more than less good-looking males. The same is true with women, the more attractive of which earn up to four percent more.

As the thinking goes, symmetrical faces are deemed beautiful; beauty is therefore, linked to confidence; and it’s a combination of looks and confidence that is often equated with smartness.

In today’s entertainment industry good looks is no longer something that can dismissed as frivolous or vain, beauty or lack of it can affect your job, your career, your life.

Though not everyone seems to agree and instead go for the perception that talent is all one requires to succeed, it’s no secret that the industry is consumed by image.

In fact, economists have long recognised what has been dubbed as the ‘beauty premium’ - the idea that pretty people, whatever their aspirations, tend to do better in almost everything.

In this era of social media, image is everything and as one pundit puts it, ‘you have to show something extra apart from just the talent, I must be able to desire a second look.

According to Salim Maganga, the moment an artiste is thrust into the limelight, he or she becomes a product and like any other brand, therefore she needs to be packaged in ways that appeal to the customers.

He adds that it is the reason why artists who are not endowed with aesthetical qualities struggle in the industry.

According to him some artistes in today’s Bongo Flava have only made it to the limelight because of the good looks that was accompanying the main product, whereas those who are less endowed struggle.

In an interview last year Rita Paulsen who is the founder of a talent search reality TV show BSS says it is sometimes construed as what should come first as combination of factors plays in an artist’s success.

“It is a combination of factors which include beauty, personality and the talent and some brains too. The beauty in an artist radiates because there are some supporting factors without which the girl is just some bimbo!” Rita told The Beat.

Though she admits that one has to appeal the audience, she is, however, quick to caution that the beauty premium is a trap that some young unsuspecting girls have fallen into.

“Some of these girls have been duped into thinking that beauty is all they need to succeed in either acting or singing and at the end of the day they end up being easy targets,” she adds.

Elizabeth Manka believes the ills in the industry make women face a double bind.

“They are expected to conform to the beauty standards of the day, yet simultaneously condemned for doing so,” says Elizabeth.

And it seems it is not only in the performing arts that looks has become such an important attribute.

According to a survey carried out by NewsWeek, 57 per cent of the 202 hiring managers said that qualified but unattractive candidates were likely to have a harder time landing a job.

When it comes to women, apparently, flaunting their assets works: 61 per cent of managers (the majority of them men) said it would be an advantage for a woman to wear clothing showing off her curves at work.

According to a New York recruiting agency, “This is the new reality of the job market, it’s better to be average and good- looking than brilliant and unattractive.”

On the other hand, women who are too attractive or too feminine are often relegated to low-level positions, particularly in traditionally male-dominated industries.

Known as the “bimbo effect,” these women are seen as beautiful but unintelligent and ultimately less competent by both men and their female peers.

In reality, it’s a confluence of cultural forces that has left us clutching, desperately, to an ever-evolving beauty ideal. Today’s young entertainers were reared on the kind of reality TV and pop culture that screams, again and again, that everything is a candidate for upgrading.

As disturbing as all of these may be, there’s seemingly nothing to be done about this reality as far as changing the opinions of others.

Advice: if you’re one of those lucky people who was bequeathed with good looks at creation, enjoy the advantages, but be careful not to position yourself as an empty-minded beauty queen.

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Friday, September 1, 2017

A weekend of releases and album launches

Irene Veda plays the saxophone much to the

Irene Veda plays the saxophone much to the delight of the audience. PHOTO | MICHAEL MATEMANGA 

By Paul Owere

Dar es Salaam. Tanzania is endowed with talent in the performing arts who should be selling multi platinum albums across the continent and beyond.

This is a fact that many agree with but for some reason whatever seems to be a great talent always ends up as a mere promise.

The list of such artistes with enormous potential is rather endless in today’s industry that is driven by the commercial value rather than the quality of the end product.

The question that always comes to mind is whether the artistes choose the wrong audience or it is the audience that is misguided by misplaced perceptions?

The weekend was one that had plenty of mouthwatering prospects to look forward to, from the impending McGregor- Floyd Mayweather mega money fight to Wema Sepetu’s premiere of ‘Heaven Sent’ at Mlimani City’s Century Cinema.

At the Nafasi Art Space, Dar es Salaam such a spectacle was on display with very talented young female artistes displaying a rare show of expertise on stage, it was free, yet not very many turned up!

Veda on the saxophone

From Irene Veda on the saxophone, Chikaya Buruya strumming the guitar to the Zanzibar Women Group singing wonderful taarab melodies, it was a sight to behold as the all female themed night took entertainment to another level.

The last time I met Veda was at the Zanzibar International Film Festival where was attending some of the workshops on acting and related business, she spoke passionately about her music and films.

However, it was during her stint at the Big Brother Africa Hotshots season which saw Idris Sultan emerge as winner that she was thrust into the limelight.

During that somehow unsuccessful spell at the reality TV show one of Veda’s skills was her ability to play the saxophone an attribute that put her on a different scale from the other housemates.

To many who watched her on that show, it could be all they know about her, yet, she has since metamorphosed to become a fully fledged musician with a band that has several gigs under her belt.

She might have not come home with the bounty but that stint gave her a vision to pursue bigger things musically.

On that night, she swept her fans off their feet with a performance of almost 45 minutes nimbly playing the saxophone and at time going vocal taking her audience on a musical trip with La Veda Vida.

She demonstrated versatility, creativity and patience that comes with careful nurturing of a talent which for some reason has deserted most of today’s crop of artistes.

The sophistication and energy that she puts into her music is not the ordinary Bongo Flava that we have become accustomed to in the last decade or so and she doesn’t consider herself a Bongo Flava artiste either.

But even with such a performance, the stage appearance might not just tell the whole story and she admits that there have been some challenges so far as the gigs have been far and apart.

Chikaya can go places

Her audience waited patiently for her debut album and she finally released ‘Sing For You’ on home soil and she made sure it was as humble as her own character.

Her vocal range, stage use and above all how she strummed the guitar kept the audience wanting for more of her in the one-hour performance at the usually quite neighbourhood of Mikocheni.

This was not the first time that the rising artiste had put up such a show, the last time she performed at the Karibu Music Festival in Bagamoyo many in attendance unanimously agreed that she had what it takes to make the big break.

A similar nod went out at her launch with some revellers wondering whether she was local given her style of music and the choice of singing in English.

The five-track album which is an eclectic fusion of African folk beats and western rhythm marries beautifully with Chikaya’s earthy, distinguishable, charismatic vocals carrying songs such as Sing For You, Back Park, Novelty, Steady and Back Park Remix.

At a time when not so many female artistes seem to stick to the game she demonstrated that with hard work and commitment you can go places.

“We are thinking of the London launch after this performance. We had to do it right because if you don’t get it right at the beginning it becomes a messy affair,” said her manager Don Charles.

These shows have gone on to boost her credentials as one of Tanzania’s rising stars at a time when very few female performers stick in the game long enough to be crowned.

Audience

The show at Nafasi was one that every music fan would have dreamt of but unfortunately the attendance didn’t seem to suggest that in any way.

Though it was free, those in attendance were either those who play that kind of music or tourists and expatriates.

Just like the trend has been with shows such as Sauit Za Busara where the natives leave it to visitors to fill the halls, here too, there is something emerging.

The question here is whose music is this? Is it music meant for export? The obvious answer is that it is Tanzanian music with Tanzanian roots.

There is a certain section that has been quick to aim a dig at the media for its lack promotion to such talent.

It is going to take a collective effort for artistes like the ones who performed at Nafasi over the weekend to grow.

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Friday, September 1, 2017

Oriflame holds skincare master class in Dar

This is how we do it : Leyla Samuel showing

This is how we do it : Leyla Samuel showing Novage Bright Sublime 

Dar es Salaam. Skincare is one of the most important elements that today’s celebrities take seriously but sometimes they get it all wrong causing all sorts of discomfort.

Cosmetic giants Oriflame this week held a skincare master class in Dar es Salaam in an effort to get connected with its growing young and sassy clientele base.

The session featured celebrities, cosmetologists and business people who are all part of the oriflamme family.

The firm which was founded in Stockholm in 1967 has been operational in Tanzania for the past five years. Speaking at the event Mary Makena said they had convened in a year when the Swedish cosmetics giant celebrates 50 years of manufacturing and distribution of cosmetics and makeup worldwide to educate their clients on some of the little issues. “As much as we are here to showcase our products, we are here to have fun as well as we explore new opportunities that come with such association,” she said.

The company operates in over 66 countries worldwide selling natural skin care and cosmetics products marketed through direct selling system.

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Friday, September 1, 2017

Fiesta set for Arusha launch



WizKid at last year’s event

WizKid at last year’s event 

Dar es Salaam. One week after popular show Tigo Fiesta was launched organisers have named the date and venue of the inauguration of the Tumekusoma edition of the extravaganza.

Despite Arusha having had a dark past as far as the festival is concerned organisers have picked the tourist town as the place for the first show of the 16th edition. The festival kicks off on September 9.

Already several big names have been signed for the annual event that is set to take almost two months with the climax set for November in Dar es Salaam.

Apart from the two cities other regional towns that are set to get the feel of the song and dance festival are Sumbawanga, Mwanza, Kahama, Dodoma, Iringa, Mtwara and others.

This year the festival will involve other key features such as the Super Nyota talents search, Fursa and Tamadunika a traditional dance show.

In a celebration of local talent the festival will feature 100 per cent local artistes as opposed to the norm of featuring international artistes especially at the final gig.

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Friday, September 1, 2017

Swahili Fashion Week launches designer contest



Mustafa Hassanali founder of SFW

Mustafa Hassanali founder of SFW 

Dar es Salaam.The date for this year’s Swahili Fashion Week has been set for December as the extravaganza looks forward to celebrate a decade in fashion and design.

To kick off the proceedings SFW has kicked off the search for up and coming designer of the year under the platform of Washington Benbella Emerging Designer Competition.

According to founder Mustapha Hassanali the contest provides a platform for young designers to showcase their ability in the best way possible.

“We are very excited to celebrate the 10 years of SFW Washington Benbella Emerging Designer Competition, We are eye witnesses of the huge and tremendous success of the past emerging designer winners since we are passionate of raising fashion stars,” he said.

He added: We feel so honored to commence this competition. We expect more than innovative ideas in marking 10 years of SFW existence and everything should be glamour at that” According to Hassanali the quality and breadth of the designs seen each year continues to surprise and amaze the audience.

“We strive to discover new talents and take their career to global level. We urge young designers to take this opportunity seriously by submitting their best designs which will give them room among the selected in the top 10 finalists”.

Swahili Fashion Week was founded in 2007 by Mustapha Hassanali and since then it has grown to become one of the leading fashion extravaganza in Africa.

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Friday, September 1, 2017

MUSINGS : Getting conned at weddings



Mlagiri Kapoka

Mlagiri Kapoka 

By Mlagiri Kopoka

I say it is not fair because it is a complete waste of resources and exploitation.

I mean how long does a typical Bongo wedding party last? Do we really get the value for our money?

At most a wedding lasts for around eight hours but the expenses for these ceremonies to say the least are heading way out of proportions

So I felt cheated the other day when I went to a wedding.

As you all know to be invited to a wedding these days you must have donated something.

According to the recent wedding donation cards that have reached me, some have cut off price tags, it is no longer up to your wish.

Maybe due to this run-away inflation situation we are currently living in.

Donations usually depend on the social status of either the couple that are getting married or their families.

On this occasion the lowest donation was set at Sh100,000 for a single’s invitation.

The party was to begin at 7.00 pm according to the timetable printed on the invitation card. But I knew this was Bongo where ‘keeping time is wasting time.’

I had Mama watoto at my side when we are arrived at the hall all dressed for the big show.

I was impressed at the entrance after checking our invitation card we were welcomed with a bowl of soup.

“That is just to prepare you for things to come,” the waiter serving us commented cheerfully.

“See!” I whispered to Mama Watoto. “I told you this thing was going to be great.”

“Why are you drawing conclusions so soon, we have only just arrived,” she replied with caution.

The décor in the hall was breathtaking with silky laces and ribbons all around as soft soothing music filled the air.

It was packed; we managed to get seats at a table in the corner not far from the ‘special guests’ tables.’

At the table sat a certain old folk with a shinny bald head that looked like the back of a clay cooking pot.

The wrinkles on his face told a story of its own, I guess it was more from booze than age.

Next to him sat a plump woman whose hair was braided, she kept on leaning on the ‘old’ man’s shoulder.

Drinks soon started flowing, the first and second round we got our preferences. Then we went for the food which honestly was one of the best I had ever has at a wedding.

The master of ceremony (MC) led the proceedings; flashing entertaining jokes that left guest holding to their ribs.

When we went back to our table I called the waitress who informed me that only Konyagi was available.

“But how?” I queried in fury, as the waitress simply shrugged her shoulders for luck of a sensible answer.

The ‘old man’ had a surprise in store as he said calmly “ Basi, leta huo mzinga.”

I turned to have a good look at the man ordering such strong liquor at that point in time.

“Au vipi?” he said to me. I just shook my head in despair. I looked at the woman who just kept silent.

“This is Bongo,” I reflected “Instead of fighting for our right after donating such huge sums of money. Here, we were willing to knock ourselves out.”

And that is exactly what happened to the old man after he drained the whole bottle. I had this unceremonious duty to carry him out of the hall.

Then the two of them got on to a boda boda.

The thin old man was sandwiched between the driver and his plump partner.

The woman’s thighs exposed, hands stretched embracing the boda boda driver caging the old man to protect him from falling off.

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Friday, August 25, 2017

Diamond and AliKiba beef getting very noisy

 

Dar es Salaam. There were days when Diamond and AliKiba who are believed to Tanzania’s top artistes made the world believe that all was well between them, but that seems to be in quite a distant past.

This week the release of Fresh remix by rapper Fid Q brought to the surface the ugly nature of their cold war pitting Diamond against AliKiba and Ommy Dimpoz.

In the remix in what seems to be a dig at AliKiba’s long silence, Diamond raps saying ‘they once asked to be given the throne but now I have given them a bed to sleep as well’.

AliKiba in his response referred to Diamond as the Queen who has laid his bed, a response that seemed to attract negative comments and positive in equal measures.

But that was not until Ommy Dimpoz joined the fray posting a picture with Diamond’s mother saying Diamond is his son.

The post received an instant reaction with people like Steve Nyerere and Mubenga warning the singer not to go that direction because it was disrespectful to all mothers.

“Isn’t you who sang that there is no one like a mother,” wrote Mubenga Dimpoz’s former manager.

To date it is not clear what really happened between these three singers that have brought them to the brink of war.

Sources say it started with Diamond’s elimination of Kiba’s vocals on one of the songs he had they had done together whereas there are those who claim that it started after Single Boy.

It is also reported that the hostility was further entrenched when AliKiba started dating Diamond’s former flame Jokate Mwegelo, something that many believe Diamond was not pleased with at all. 

Whatever happened to them remains a mystery but it is quite clear that they have made the social media such a noisy place for now.

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Friday, August 25, 2017

Mziki Mnene kick off six-region tour

 

Dar es Salaam. Singeli fans should brace themselves for a time of their lives in the next coming weeks; this is after EFM launched a six region tour that kicks off this week.

Speaking to the Beat EFM manager Denis Busulwa aka Ssebo said the tour which kicks off today at Mkwakwani Stadium is more of a meet the fans tour which is packed with several activities.

“We kick off with Tanga where we shall have all our programs on Friday broadcasted from Mkwakwani Stadium before getting into the concert mode on Saturday,” said Ssebo.

According to him the festival will go to regions such as Mtwara, Pwani, Morogoro, Dodoma and finally climax in Dar es Salaam.

“We are using this festival to meet our fans and equally to scout for music talent through our Singeli talent such which has produced some amazing results in the past,” he said.

Apart from the talent search there will also be a football match and other community based activities.

The concert at Mkwakwani just like in the rest of the other regions will involve mostly Singeli singers plus some Bongo Flava artistes and will be beamed live of TV.

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Friday, August 25, 2017

Sauti Sol and their emoji journey

 

By Paul Owere

When Sauti Sol first broke through as a boy band almost 10 years ago, they were just that, a boy band that was struggling to make a mark.

By all accounts there were others who had come before them and many of their kind were struggling to sustain themselves in the market.

Young men like them who tried their hands in music were very comfortable with doing playbacks and could hardly dream large.

The names then in the Kenyan industry were Wahu , Nameless, Jua Cali, Prezzo, Amani and several others.

Ten years later, they have become one of the most sought after band in Africa who have toured widely with several compositions to their named in the process winning several awards to match that success.

Their Lipala dance got US President Barrack Obama dancing while on a state visit to Kenya the country of his father’s birth

This month they came up something that only Sauti Sol can do an emoji video to one of their songs which took them a record time to produce

Award winning afro-pop group Sauti Sol have disclosed that producing the world’s first ever emoji only music video took almost six months to fix the pieces together.

The video of their newly released single, Friendzone, is a WhatsApp themed, emoji-only (lyric) video.

“This is the first EVER emoji only lyric music video in the world. It took us almost 6 months to develop and execute,” the group posted on their social media pages.

The emoji lyric video is the first of a three part video release for the song Friendzone. The song has been well received among their fans and even on the airwaves.

Speaking about what influenced them, Bien said; “Right now somewhere in the world, there is always someone in the friend zone and there is someone trying to get out of the friend zone.”

“As part of our majority we try to sing songs that make people happy but we also tell people stories. Songs that people can relate to. People use emoji’s in our everyday lives, they are slowly replacing them with the actual words,” added Savara.

Sauti Sol has had quite a history in their decade of music, in July 2012, Sauti Sol released a self-titled extended play, a collaborative effort with South African rapper and record-producer Spoek Mathambo, who produced the EP in Nairobi and Johannesburg.

The music video for its lead single, ‘Range Rover’, was shot at the Hembrug in Zaandam, Netherlands, in an old ammunition factory that is now an official cultural heritage site popularly referred to as “the cathedral”.

Sauti Sol’s recognition continued to rise in 2012, as they were nominated for and won the Most Gifted East African award at the 2012 Channel O Music Video Awards for their song “Shukuru” with Tanzanian rapper AY.

On 29 April 2014, the band released “Nishike”. Its music video caused uproar in the media due to its steamy content, and ended up getting banned from most local TV stations.

Baraza later expressed his anger with the ban, stating that he refuses “to be a secular artist boxed by society to restrict my freedom of expression.”

They received a nomination for the Best Group award at the 2014 MTV Africa Music Awards, but eventually lost out South African group Mafikizolo. The music video has received a 2014 Nomination as East Africa’s Most Gifted Video by Channel O Music Video Awards [28]

After “Nishike”, Sauti Sol released their third studio album, Live and Die in Afrika. The album, released online on 21 November 2015, was available to Sauti Sol fans globally for free download (48 hours) as an early Christmas present.

The album was released under their imprint label Sauti Sol Entertainment as a self-produced work by Sauti Sol for Sauti Sol. This was introduced by a spin-off Lipala dance competition run on Instagram that sparked an online dance movement in Africa and across the globe.

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Friday, August 25, 2017

NYAMA Choma a taste of Tanzanian delicacy

Revellers at the last Nyama Choma festival in

Revellers at the last Nyama Choma festival in Dar es Salaam PHOTO | FILE 

By Paul Owere

Dar es Salaam. Food forms a major part of every culture and every community boasts a certain delicacy that defines them as a people and their heritage.

As for Tanzania and the greater part of East Africa nyama choma (roasted meat) is part of that great tradition that has been passed down from one generation to another.

In certain communities festivities are not complete without meat, this probably given to the fact that Tanzania has the second largest population of livestock in Africa.

In Tanzania today it is a celebrated event where thousands of revellers come together on a quarterly basis to sample some of the best barbeques on offer thanks to an idea that was born some six years ago.

It is a delicacy that even those who visit Tanzania long for and some actually travel long journeys to come to this festival especially the Dar es Salaam and Arusha edition. This week the festival will grace Arusha in its third quarter and organisers says they are looking forward to it. Speaking to the Beat Carol Ndosi says it is an event that speaks volumes on Tanzania’s choices in terms of food and other social aspects.

“From the ‘mishkakis’ at Juma’s ‘kibanda’ in our streets to Ugali-Mbuzi Choma to a barbecue house serving ribs or T-bone steak, grilled/barbecue meat is popular in East Africa. The Nyama Choma festival aims to celebrate this entree and its power of bringing people together,” says Carol Ndosi the founder of the festival.

According to Carol it is a day when all social barriers are broken and revellers gather around and eat and talk and dance.

Initially when held for the first time in June 2011,it was supposed to be an annual event but by popular demand we had to do it on a quarterly basis.

They have grown to a crowd of tens of thousands, with thousands of loyal customers who keep coming back every time the event is around.

The Nyama Choma Festival is held thrice in Dar es Salaam, twice in Arusha, Dodoma, Mwanza, and once in Moshi and for some reason it is complimented by other showcases of small businesses in arts, food stuffs, tech, household products because it is a day when customers of all target groups are gather in one place.

Sarah Mushi has been coming to this festival for the past three years, to her, what brings her is the company and the possibility of meeting people that she hardly gets to meet on an ordinary day.

“This place gives revellers some sort of a one stop center because it is where the best barbeque can be found and in numbers but above all it is not just about the food, here we get to network and also get to enjoy some great entertainment as well,” says Sarah.

The ambiance that surrounds the area as families and friends come together is just another aspect makes it unique from other gatherings.

“This festival says a lot about us as a country and our aspirations. We are a nation adorned with hospitality! From the servers who will greet you as you enter and usher you to their stall, one feels it is a truly Tanzanian event,” says Carol.

But even as the founders celebrate the success that they have gained, it has not been an easy sail all the way as shortcomings have drawn them back.

“From its inception, it was meant to be a barbecue festival in the essence of showcasing our barbecue gurus and popular barbecue houses. We aspire to have different grilling skills with different marinades and creativity with meat and food. It is still a challenge to inspire this creativity we are looking for among participants,” she says.

But even as customers keep coming back they have to deal with the time limit imposed by the municipal council which requires entertainment joints to close at midnight.

The festival has grown in stature to the extent that some people have copied the brand in neighbouring countries where they host a similar event like in Kampala.

“The Nyama Choma Festival was for the first time in June 2011 in Dar es Salaam. By then, to our knowledge, there was no other festival with this concept. Since then we have heard of similar events some even going as far as using the same name and our graphics,” says Carol

She adds: There are people who are inspired but lack the diligence of respecting and avoiding infringing on another property’s copyrights.”

She, however, remains positive of the prospects that the festival provides as they aspire to be creative to continue meeting their customers’ demands that keep changing.

“We are honored to be amongst the top outdoor events in Tanzania and particularly Dar es Salaam. In the early days there was a notion that an event like this was not possible because of the logistics and security concerns, but we can proudly say we continue to work hard towards ensuring this,” says Carol.

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Friday, August 25, 2017

Great expectations as Tigo Fiesta is launched

 

By Paul Owere

Dar es Salaam. After so much speculation and negative vibe that it might not take place, the Tigo Fiesta is back and as revellers make merry, it is harvest time for the entertainers.

Though organisers are yet to name the exact date when it kicks off, they promise it is going to be one of a kind as different regions get the feel of festival, some for the first time.

The festival which has in the past comes with different themes every year has been christened ‘Tumekusoma’.

Some of the past themes were ‘Sambaza Upendo’ (Spread Love), ‘Twenzetu’ One Love, Bhaaasi, Hakuna Majotroo that became instant house hold names.

The deal between Clouds Media and Tigo, which among other things gives telecom giants Tigo this year’s naming rights for Fiesta 2017 will see the stirring event sweep through 15 regions of the country in what promises to be the most exhilarating festival yet.

Clouds Media Group’s Sebastian Maganga says the festival will roll out in regional towns such as Arusha, Kahama, Musoma, Mwanza, Tabora and Dodoma.

Also on the list is Iringa, Songea, Njombe, Morogoro, Tanga, Moshi, Mtwara and for the first time Sumbawanga will get a taste of the song and dance festival whose appeal has since transcended Tanzanian borders.

Out of the list, the most notable inclusion of the regional towns is Arusha given its past association with hooliganism that forced PrimeTime Promotions to strike it out of the list in 2011.

As the norm has been the extravaganza will reach its climax in Dar es Salaam with a grand performance that will feature the cream in the industry.

The telecom company on their behalf promise to showcase a plethora of internationally acclaimed and locally celebrated artists in a carnival full of good times, merriment, great art, splendid music and great offers which will roll on for several months across different parts of the country.

“Revelers should brace themselves for a breathtaking roller coaster of good music and exciting times from Tigo,” says Tigo’s William Mpinga.

Made in Tanzania stamp

Both Clouds Media Group and Tigo are however keeping the cards close to their chest with neither ready to divulge the list of artistes who are set to perform.

Even then sources privy to The Beat say it is going to be 100 per cent local in a celebration of the giant strikes made in the Bongo Flava industry over the past two decades.

“We have tried that route before and for many years. Though we can say it delivered results, the time is now right for us to explore what our own artistes can offer the audience that celebrates them,” says the source.

Last year’s trial of an all African cast might have worked for the organisers given the astronomical fees they have to pay for the American artistes to perform here, it, however, didn’t board very well with most revellers.

They hoped for some high profile western artiste, this will probably be the difficult part of the math that organisers will have to work out.

“Putting up a show of that magnitude requires massive investment that sometimes isn’t easy to recoup especially when it involves flying in Western artistes who bills run into hundreds of thousands of dollars,” quips one pundit.

Rich history

The party trail, which is now called Tigo Fiesta was born in the late 90s with the first show taking place at Slipway in Dar es Salaam, by then it was known as Summer Jam but due to negative publicity they had to change name plus several issues.

For the last decade the festival has continued to grow to accommodate more local artistes, genres and regions.

It has also over the years featured high profile performances from international artistes such as Shaggy, Kate De Luna, Lil Kim, Joe Thomas, Busta Rhymes, Koffi Olomide, Rick Ross, J Martins, Bracket, Yemi Alade, Ludacris, Tecno, Davido, Wizkid and many others.

The party trail that is into last half of its second decade has in the past left a rich trail of history that has kept thousands in the country and beyond entertained.

Career launch pad

According to Joseph Kusaga the CEO of Cloud Media Group, the festival was founded with the objective of bringing young people together and to promote local content.

“Our objective in the beginning after we set up the Mawingu studios and later the radio station was to promote our home grown artistes,” he once told the Beat .

The festival has evolved into an income generating venture that benefits almost everyone who is in that line of business.

“The artistes get paid, the vendors get to sell all sorts of items that revelers need, security companies get assignments, Hotels are booked to capacity because of guests who go to these towns for the gigs,” he once told The Beat.

Organisers say they have stuck to the objective of promoting laocal talent and content, an objective that they believe has been achieved as the festival has acted as a launch pad for several artistes’ career.

“We started off well, though we are yet to reach the whole country, through Fiesta we have managed to bring several artistes to the limelight.”

According to him the festival gives young artistes the audience that would have rather been difficult to get on their own. “After every season a new artiste comes up, like when Juma nature came up and in the last couple of years we have seen the rise of artistes such as Nandy and many others.” The talent search programme called Super Nyota which runs parallel to the tour has in the past years unearthed talent that have come to dominate the industry. The festival will also run the Tamadunika programme which is meant to promote traditional music across the country.

And through the Kipepeo programme the festival will visit several schools where they will meet young girls with dreams.

Challenges

There have been attempts to turn the festival into a live show experience in the past because this is what every reveller is yawning for.

But as many show promoters will admit, this remains as one of the greatest challenges of most of today’s Bongo Flava artistes save for a few, they are just okay with playback! The years of success have come with its fair share of challenges. Despite the festival having elevated itself to an international status and has been largely accepted.

But just like many other festivals, sustaining the event at the same level remains a major challenge that organisers have to contend with. It is, therefore, not a wonder that there was speculation that this year’s event had been shelved due to budgetary constraints.

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Friday, August 18, 2017

Is music production a talent or career?

 

 The music industry is fast growing in Tanzania and Africa in general thanks to the availability of technology that now makes it possible for musicians to acquire studio equipment.

With these state of the art equipment producers have become an integral part of music that are indispensable, for they own the catchy beats and melodies that blare out of speakers.

Rarely unseen but they are the ones that hold the key to the success of today’s musicians and without such talented producers such as Master Jay and P-Funk maybe we wouldn’t be speaking of Bongo Flava today.

Later day producers such as Tud Thomas, Laizer, Nahreel, Marco Chali and others have succeeded due to the ground work laid by their predecessors.

But then even as some of these talented producers gave us what we see today as Tanzania’s music, there are some who have made it out of sheer luck.

But who is a music producer then?

A music producer oversees and manages the sound recording and production of a band or performer’s music, which may range from recording one song to recording a lengthy concept album.

Has an overall vision for the music, the sound and the goals of the project, and brings a unique perspective to inspire, assist and sometimes provoke the artiste’ creativity.

The producer makes the record more than the sum of its parts one could almost say is trying to create musical alchemy.

Every producer brings different skills and a different approach, and this can make what they do difficult to summarize.

In Tanzania, music producers have been proliferating as the number of artists increases daily.

Are all producers’ professionals?

It is a million dollar question that does not seem to have a definite answer especially in the Bongo Flava arena.

At Pango Records in Mwanza the producer in charge, H-Pol, admits that despite the big names in the trade most of them have got there out of curiosity and not through professional training.

He cites FishCrab Records’ Lamar who is among the few professionally trained producers who took time off his busy schedule to go abroad to study music production.

“In most cases, music preparation and production is a ‘talent’. Out of ten producers, you will find that either seven or eight began at an early age while in churches or elsewhere,” says H-Pol.

Shukuru Frank aka Maximizer is a producer who plies his trade in both Mwanza and Dar es Salaam, to him, production is an art that might be termed as a talent and as well as a career that runs in blood.

According to Maximizer it is all about creativity and how you keep up-to-date with the trends of the industry that will keep people knocking on your doors.

“Here it does not matter of whether you are trained to play with the music instruments or not, the big deal is to be unique and come up with amazing beats that get people off their feet,” says Maximizer.

Maximizer is quick to warn that just like any other career, nusic production is not a walk in the park as it requires passion and hard work above everything else and that is what makes some producers stand out of the crowd.

“Before I became a producer I studied at Bagamoyo School of Arts (Tasuba) and that was when I realised that without passion you cannot make it in this trade,” he says Maximizer.

He believes that every producer in Tanzania has his own style on how he or she blends the music, either be on the already composed FL Studio or Cubase for the vocals insertion.

“When a new artiste comes in, the first thing we do is to listen to his or her tone and pitch before anything else can take place. This makes it easier to trace the original pitch and the speed to apply before mixing process,” says Maximizer.

Can a producer help an artist grow?

According to Zephania Wangwi, a student pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Audio Technology with specializations in computer science and physics at American University, most musicians spend too long doing things that are not working without realizing it and that adds up to their frustration and therefore limiting their progress.

“When these artists go for recording, it takes a bit time to regulate their voicals and keys on the musical instrumental and even in the computer, here a variation of touch by the producers is now welcome,” he says.

How is the trend internationally?

Some producers seem to have an almost magical touch, a secret formula that guarantees almost anyone who works with them success.

In the US,Phil Spector, with his trademark ‘wall of sound’ was an early example, whereas in the 80s ‘Stock Aiteken and Waterman’ developed and instantly recognizable template for their artistes.

Of course a distinctive sound is only a good thing if the producer’s style suits the material.

Paul McCartney was famously outraged at what Spector did with “Let It Be”. Dr. Dre is a more recent example of a “golden ticket” producer, almost single-handedly responsible for the output of a vast strip of the biggest rap and R&B artistes in recent years.

Only a few producers in Tanzania have been trained on how to play the piano, guitar, saxophone and other music instruments this in a way affects their progress.     

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Friday, August 18, 2017

CHIKAYA READY TO UNLEASH ‘SING FOR YOU’

 

By Paul Owere

  When Chika-ya first performed at the Karibu Music Festival in Bagamoyo two years ago many in atten-dance unanimously agreed that she had what it takes to make the big break.Her vocal range, stage man-agement and above all how she strummed the guitar kept the audience wanting for more, and that was before she could even release her first album.


And since then the multi talented artiste has not looked back as her talent has grown in leaps and bounds. Finally she seems to be where her fans wanted to see her.Several months down the road Chikaya aka Daughter of Africa is ready to take on the big stage with the release of her debut album which she has aptly titled ‘Sing For You’.“The album is ready, it has been a result of some hard work with the team and a couple of other people working behind the scenes,” she says.Originally scheduled to be released in London the bud-ding singer says she opted to launch at home before taking it overseas.

“After a closer look we decid-ed that we start here before we go anywhere else and I think it makes a whole lot of sense to have made that decision,” she says.The five-track album is an eclectic fusion of African folk beats and western rhythm which marry beautifully with Chikaya’s earthy, distinguish-able, charismatic vocals carry-ing songs such as Sing For You, Back Park, Novelty, Steady and Back Park Remix.


Though there could be many forces of distraction out there she is convinced that the best way to kick start her career was by putting out an album.“We are aware that most artistes today do not release albums due to piracy but after a careful deliberation we decided that this was the way to go.”In an industry where most join for unrelated issues such as quick fame Chikaya has decided to keep herself ground-ed by taking a different musical route.“I know that Bongo Flava is hot around here but my deci-sion to take this route was because it is something that appeals to me.


My music is a reflection of the things I believe in and who I am as a young woman,” she says.She is quite aware of the expectations that a brand like hers come with but she insists that she want to stay true to her upbringing.“There are times when I think about it but sometimes it is we the artistes who put these expectations on us. At the end of the day we are just normal human beings.”And she seems to be mak-ing inroads already after she was signed to an internation-al record label Sustainable Records based in the UK.“I started working closely with Sustainable Records which is owned by Don Charles in 2015 and together we have created some dynamic tunes that transcend our heritage,” she says.They have since formed a successful writing partnership, collaborating heavily on Chi-kaya’s upcoming debut album.


Chikaya’s involvement with Sustainable Records has result-ed in her rising popularity and a growing fan base both locally and beyond. Chikaya is an energetic solo artist and self-taught guitarist became aware of her resound-ing musical ability in her late teens and she decided to pur-sue her dreams.While attending school, Chi-kaya joined a band called Tong-wa Assembly by Gody Kaoza and it was here that she not only grew in confidence but also discovered a natural apti-tude for performing live shows and entertaining the crowds.In 2017 Chickaya collaborat-ed with Dat Letzte Kleonod of Germany, the fantastic Afrik-abisa band plus a performance at Karibu Festival in Bagam-oyo.These shows have gone on to boost her credentials as one of Tanzania’s rising stars at a time when very few female per-formers stick in the game long enough to be crowned

 

 

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Friday, August 18, 2017

King Majuto calls it a day at 69

 

Veteran entertainer Amir Athuman aka King Majuto has finally decided to call it a day after 30 years in the entertainment industry.

The comedian who is known for his rib-breaking antics says he made the decision and now he was going to serve God for the remaining days of his life.

“As far as I am concerned I am done with arts I am now back in my village where I will serve the Almighty to forgive me of my sins. There are many things that we as artistes do some are good but others don’t please God. In most cases those bad things become part of one’s youth and that is why we have to pray to God.”

He however said that in the event of an opportunity of doing a commercial he will turn up but he will immediately go back home to his native Tanga.

“I have my equipment here but I have decided to leave this job to my children who can now take over from where I stopped,” he said.

Majuto 69 who served in the Tanzania Peoples Defence Forces and a fireman for over 20 years says he started his career in the 1980s while with the Ports authority in Tanga.

But his breakthrough came at DDC kibisa in 1983; he later joined Muungano Cultural Troupe before heading to Nairobi with his own troupe.

His travels later took him to Tanzania One Theatre where he worked with the late Captain John Komba.

He however says that he only realised something out of arts after he became an independent artist.     

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Friday, August 18, 2017

tame your jealousy

 

        I was sipping from a glass this sweet red wine, the stuff tasted as good as ever.

If there is one product made in this country that I am really proud of, then it has to be this wine from Dodoma.

Sadly it is being priced out of ordinary folks’ reach making it something for some lucky few.

I was thinking the events that are happening in this country, the Boss got the investigative reports he needed.

Now I thought was the tricky part. Let’s wait and see how he maneuvers through in the months to come.

He will have to dribble like Kibadeni and shoot like Sembuli. Failure to deliver would mean great disaster to all of us. God forbid!

Then there was this Taifa Stars as usual leaving us perplexed on home soil.

Can someone educate me, can’t National teams like ours buy players from somewhere? If that is possible I would suggest we purchase Mr. Trump from fake news team.

Maybe that’s when Taifa Stars will at last make us happy, but above all that vanity assembly sitting there at the nation’s capital doing some unbelievable things. Such ridiculous exploitation can only be compared with some medieval English parliament of the 14th century.

Looking at the bigheadedness of the legislative body I wondered what went so wrong. There was such anger and such jealousy. It was so shocking.

Yes jealousy and anger are at the root of all evil. In the Holy Bible there is a story of how Cain out of envy murdered his brother Abel.

This is just one of the many old tales of how a combination of jealousy and anger can stimulate evil.

However there is another side of the story. They are people who think that anyone telling them of their mistakes or weakness is being jealous of them.

Usually, people with such mentalities do not change easily their crooked ways simply because they believe they are victims of some peoples’ jealous motives.

At the pub this fat there was this heavily built man wearing a kitenge shirt sitting with this new girl at Mama B’splace.

She was quite a beauty to behold; light complexion, a killer smile with a size 8 figure. She walked with a sway that made heads turn each time each time she went to the ladies.

Each time the man ordered for a beer he would tell Mariam to take one also.

“I say, this time Mama B has really got us something.

You are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen!”

The man kept on showering the girl with praise. He would touch her all over in quite provocative ways.

Occasionally the man would whisper in the girl’s ear and she would burst into fits of laughter and then pushes the man off.

They seemed to be having a wonderful time. Another slim lanky man dress in a checked long sleeve shirt, blue jeans and white tennis shoes was also here drinking alone in a corner.

They seemed to know one another from the way Mariam was responding to his call.

But form the look of things they are not in good terms and this was proved when an argument broke out between the two. The man was heard accusing the girl of wasting his time and being a prostitute.

“Stop interfering with my life. Go and stalk your poor wife. If you really loved me you should have married me when you had that chance,” she barked at him.

“Achana na mimi, wewe!”

Then suddenly the man stood up in an attempt to hit the girl.

The girl challenges him to dare do it!

The slim man, in a spilt of a second picks the bottle he was drinking from and slams it across Mariam’s face.

What followed was chaotic scene and anarchy.

There were those who moved to lynch the man who had attack Mariam, those who went to aid the injured girl and those of us who simply fled for safety.     

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Friday, August 18, 2017

EU contest unearths talent in filmmaking

 

By By Paul Owere

        Bongo movies industry is in disarray that is if the recent trends are to be taken serious, for no good news is coming from that end of town.

And as some of its disciples have openly admitted on a couple of occasions it is an industry that is in dire need for redemption and urgent intervention.

That intervention seem to have come in form of a youth contest organized by the European Union with the objective of facilitating a competition that will spark dialogue among youth on the impact of overpopulation as well as support development youth-led agenda through art and creativity.

According to the head of the European Union delegation to Tanzania, Ambassador Roeland van de Geer the film competition is an excellent opportunity for young Tanzanians to creatively express themselves about a topic of great importance for the development of Tanzania.

“Tanzania has the 18th highest population growth rate and birth rate in the world and there are no signs that this trend will change. The high population growth provides for opportunities but also poses significant challenges, for example on social services such as health, education as well as infrastructure,” he says.

The first phase saw 30 participants aged between 18 and 35 selected to participate in a workshop to understand the guidelines for production and submission as well as to familiarise themselves with the key concept.

Helping out with this duty was a panel of renowned Tanzanian judges who conducted a workshop to orient the participants on the basic technicalities of the films expected.

This was further complemented by the presence of French film maker Kantarama Garighiri who was in the country in June to screen her documentary ‘Tapis Rouge’.

The EYFC workshop aimed at offering young and emerging filmmakers in Tanzania an exceptional creative opportunities and experiences with leaders of the movie industry.

“A program of talks, technical tips and career advice is intended to give budding film makers insight into all aspects of film making from writing and directing to acting and producing,” says one of the organisers.

He adds: We recognized that some people aspiring to enter the EYFC Film Competition may not have prior experience of participating in this type of competition. Consequently we sought the help of experienced and skilled professionals to collaborate with us to ensure a level-playing field for all participants.

According to Richard Ndunguru who was on the judging panel the European Youth Film proved to be beneficial to youths who are vying to become filmmakers.

“The pilot program proved to be a long waited platform for upcoming filmmakers. There is a great need to ensure its sustainability since its launch is timely with the vision of seeing a semi -industrious Tanzania. The prizes are a token that will boost the urge and motivate youths to jump into the filmmaking arena,” says Ndunguru.

He thinks that the contest in future should include more genres and categories should be taken into consideration because it is the only way through which it can equip the contestants with techniques such as screenplay writing production Management, camera technique, sound production and post production.

There was a sense of enthusiasm too from those whose films were picked for the contest such as Kherry Kafuku and Ivanune Mbilinyi.

“I have never had such an experience as a film maker. I used to think that film making is just shooting and editing. But now I am equipped with the some new technical aspects and even my friends congratulate me on my improvement’ says Kherry Kafuku

For Ivanune Mbilinyi it was a competition that he was proud to associate with that he can’t wait for the next edition given the level of training and the knowledge he gained.

The top 15 films have started around Dar es Salaam at no cost to the general public who will be given a chance to vote for their favourite film.

The public screening started last weekend at Mbagala Zakheim attracting a crowd of over 500 people who expressed satisfaction with the quality production and the messages in the short films.

The winning film will win prizes worth Sh 7 million, while the first runner up will win prizes worth Sh 5million and the second runner-up will win prizes worth Sh 3 million.     

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Friday, August 18, 2017

Rapper Chidi Benz in trouble again

 

        Just when you thought his troubles were over, rapper Chidi Benzi is in fresh trouble after it was reported that he has been put on probation alongside five others by Ilala Court.

This was after it was revealed that despite having been set free two years ago, the singer who has been at a rehab was still involved in substance abuse contrary to terms agreed.

According to Bongo 5 Chidi Benz and his co-accused Hadia Abeid, Said Ally, Athuman Elias and Hassan Mohamed was brought before resident magistrate Ritha Tarimo.

This must be a worrying announcement for his fans who thought he was finally out of deep end and that they would soon see him at performances.

In February during a crackdown on drug trafficking and abuse several artists were netted and some still have cases to answer in different courts.     

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Friday, August 11, 2017

How local artistes are banking from their fame

 

Music is big business in Tanzania, when done right; it can become quite lucrative to those bold and creative enough to bank from the entertainment trade. Bongo flava has become East Africa’s favourite genre, while at the same time captivating the hearts of fans from across the African continent. It is due to such expansion that our local musicians become scrutinized on how they lead their lives.

We are used to seeing big artists from the US, or maybe we might not even need to go that far; here in Africa we’ve seen Nigerian artists such as Davido and Wizkid flaunting their wealth on social media. And even though one might claim that Davido has been brought up in wealth thanks to his father, he has still made a tremendous amount of money by doing music.

At the age of 27, Wizkid is not only the biggest act in African music, but he is also among the wealthiest musicians in the continent. Forget about the claim that Nigerian music has dominated the African airwaves, making money from music goes beyond singing; it is affiliated to one’s business acumen.

Tanzania still has a lot of ground to cover to be considered a global success in music. Earlier this year Forbes released a list of African musicians who make the most money, not a single name from Tanzania could be traced among those listed. This served as an indication that our artistes still have a lot of work to do to uplift the status of their industry.

With an ever-growing number of musicians making an entrance in to the business, competition for success has become stiff. Some artistes who were considered underground musicians a few years back have now skyrocketed to stardom and are among heavyweights in the game.

But today’s music industry is different from what existed 15 to 20 years ago. Today’s market is very reactive but at the same time very predictable. Artists who started the game in the early days are now seen as nonentities due to dismal monetary returns they were availed to from making music. As their names withered, so did the respect that was once bestowed upon them, they failed to act like role models for the future generation. Save for a few celebrities, most musicians lived pitiful lives that had no consolation for the hard work they were putting in to make great music. And even those who had high pecuniary rewards ended up squandering all their hard earned money – see the likes of Mr Nice and Saida Karoli as examples.

So what had to be done to change the financial rewards that our artistes receive from doing music? It didn’t take a panel of experts on business to shade some light on what was a grim situation, a mere glimpse to the West and South of Africa was enough to serve as a lesson.

Today we have artists who are making good money from doing music. These are the artists who’ve managed to change the scale of success and brightened the perception of our local musicians. Even with a majority of local artistes still depending on shows to generate an income, there are the ‘elites’ who have found a way to bank on their fame by engaging in different businesses that are not related to music. This means that even when they retire, they will not be subject to a life of poverty and ridicule.

At the top of our list is Naseeb Abdul aka Diamond Platnumz, at the age of 27, Diamond has managed to attain success in music that is unprecedented in Tanzania. Even though it can be claimed that there are musicians with more gifted voices than his right here in Tanzania, none of them come close in comparison when it comes to success as an artiste. He started his own record label called Wasafi Classic Baby (WCB) and has since signed a number of artistes under his wing. Among such artistes are Rich Mavoko, Harmonize and Rayvanny. Today, WCB is one of the most recognizable music labels in Tanzania and beyond.

Chibu perfume – apart from having his own record label, Diamond Platnumz started a line of his own cologne. The positively received Chibu perfume is sold in most parts of the country, and even exported to Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. Diamond Karanga – the latest in what seems to be a growing list of business ventures under Diamond’s brand is Diamond Karanga – coated peanuts sold at Sh300 per pack. Dimaond Karanga has become people’s favourite.

Second on our list is Juma Jux. His African Boy T-shirt brand is perhaps the most recognizable apparel brand owned by an artiste. He has managed to penetrate through an industry that a number of artistes have put a foot in, and succeeded. African Boy T-shirts can be found in many stores around the country. Jux has succeeded at advertising his brand through social media and garnered the support from fellow musicians who’ve helped to push sales.

Ali Kiba – the ‘king’ as his fans like to call him is not left behind when it comes to having business ventures outside his music career- his started an apparel line branded with his ‘King’ signature which has done relatively well in the market. Apart from that, he recently became one of the directors at Africa Rockstar 4000, an entertainment company that manages artistes and creates media content.

Vanessa Mdee – Vee Money aka Cash Madame, as she likes to be called has become a force to be reckoned with not only in the music industry, but also the business side of it. She has started her own record label called Mdee Music and has so far signed two artistes under her label (Mimi Mars and Brian Simba). She too has a clothing line with the signature of ‘Cash Madame’ imprinted on the tops. Vanessa is a Jack of all trades; music isn’t her only talent, she is also an actress and has played a role in the popular Kenyan series Shuga.

Aika – The other half of Navy Kenzo is doing well for herself. She’s part of the founders of a record label called The Industry which she operates with her partner Nahreel. Apart from that, she has her online store ‘Aika Stores’ that sells jewellery and beauty necessities.

Nahreel – The mastermind behind some of Tanzania’s big hits has founded what is today one of the most successful record labels in the country. The Industry, a label he founded with Aika is doing well and has so far signed two artistes under its wing.

Shetta – recently it has become apparent that Shetta is doing well for himself. The Bongo Flava artiste has been seen vacationing in Europe and making lavish appearances at parties both locally and abroad. Well Baba Qyla has always been on top of fashion trends, his ‘Shetta Showbiz Clothing Line’ has one of the best and comfortable suits and sweat shirts.

Shilole – Badgirlshishi as she is popularly known by her vocal fans has been playing her game smart. The artiste, who’s never short of controversies decided to start her own food business. She started ‘Shishi Trump Food’, a food service which deals in catering and serves as a restaurant as well. Since she started, her business has gained popularity and is doing quite well.

Nay wa Mitego – the controversial rapper is known for his many business ventures which have made him one of the most successful artistes in the game. Apart from owning his own recording studio, Nay owns a number of barber shops and local transportation means within the city.

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Friday, August 4, 2017

ON THE SPOT: Josephine

 

She is an actress based in Zanzibar whose films have got a great following, at the just concluded ZIFF she spoke to The Beat on the sidelines of her duty as MC

Who is Josephine?

Josephine is so many things wrapped into one, a daughter, a wife and a mother at the same and actress too.

How did you get into acting?

I have always been acting ever since when I was in primary school and I think it is something that came naturally. In 2012 I had a rare opportunity of meeting Production Fulani and I auditioned to show what I had and that was the beginning of what you see today.

How many films have you acted in so far?

There are six titles that are already in the market and right now I am in a boot camp working on a certain TV series and apart from that I have also appeared on commercials and I am a video model

What have been the challenges so far?

There are challenges of course though there are some that are rather big but when I ventured into this industry I was very clear of what I wanted to achieve so these challenges are just part of the job

Does the industry pay?

There is money in this industry depending on the level at which you are at, but all in all I believe in taking one step at a time.

What should your fans expect?

In the next five years they should expect a great growth in the industry in Tanzania. They should expect several things that will in the long run shape the industry.

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Friday, August 4, 2017

Niler Bernard’s take on modeling industry

Model Niler Bernard in a photo shoot. PHOTO |

Model Niler Bernard in a photo shoot. PHOTO | FILE 

By Khalifa Said

Dar es Salaam. Growing up in Arusha, model Niler Bernard never expected to be in the limelight as a model.

As young children in her neighbourhood referred to her as Miss Tanzania, because of her figure which many equated to that of beauty queens.

In a recent interview with The Beat, the model speaks of how she got into modeling, relationship, competition in the game and her label in South Africa, the Boss Model.

Defining moment

“The idea of becoming a beauty queen didn’t make sense to me,” Niler says.

On top of the things she wanted to be was to become a psychologist though she later found herself fully embracing modeling by 2013.

The year, according to Niler, was her defining moment that would later come to transform her life completely.

“This was during the time I showed up for Zanzibar Fashion Week casting. I didn’t know how to walk or do anything related to modeling.”

Niler, who has currently embarked in authoring on the country’s fashion blogs, narrates that she had not been on the runway before the casting she attended at the Zanzibar event.

“I remember the last time I did the runway was in college and I eventually won. This was notwithstanding having no knowledge of the catwalk.”

According to her, during the Zanzibar Fashion Week she emerged lucky again.

“I was chosen among the girls who were to walk for the fashion week. I was naïve. So I had to learn right away and what I did was to let other girls walk before so I can see how it’s done. I was picked and from there everybody was like ‘you should be a model’,” she says.

When she later went for the audition for Tanzania Top Models, the 25-year-old model won and had chances of going places across Africa but she wasn’t prepared for the industry just yet.

It was after her stint in Egypt where she met top models from across Africa and the world that she arrived at the decision to pursue modeling as a career of choice.

The South African management

From the day she arrived from Cairo Niler never looked back as she would soon get signed at Boss Model, an agency based in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban in South Africa.

She also signed to Full Circle Model, which is boutique model and celebrity management agency based in Cape Town, South Africa.

“Boss Model gave me a five-year contract after seeing my work. After working with them for over a year, I wanted to travel. That’s when I went to them and asked if they had an agency in South Africa which are in agreements with them and that’s how I got signed at Full Circle,” says Niler.

Despite giant strides being made in the modeling industry locally , she believes the local arena is yet to become competitive in comparison to South Africa.

She says that most of those doing modeling in the country don’t do it as a business but rather a way of seeking exposure and attention.

“In South Africa, alternatively, models have one thing in common: making money. People there are more serious as they know that modeling is their means of survival.”

Rewards

There have been some rewards too, and she admits that she isn’t the same naïve girl she was a couple of years ago when she first ventured into modeling.

“I have evolved as a person, I have grown both personally and professionally to take control of my life. I depend on myself financially, which is inspiring to those who would like to pursue modeling as a career.”

Resisting challenges

But the journey in the modeling industry has not been smooth either. To her, it is a journey that has had its fair share of challenges which she says she only got over given her level of commitment.

“You need to be able to learn while on the go, if you don’t have a strong financial support; things become very hard as you fail to support yourself. Alongside modeling, you need a part time job to back you up.”

Misconception

There is always a price to pay for one’s success; Niler is single, just because of the misconception among the people in the country towards modeling. Many see them as loose girls on the prawl.

“The picture which I once shot for Victoria Secret Models caused a backlash in the social media saying that it was nude while at the same time people know that I’m a model and that is my job.”

Niler let her boyfriend go, who surprisingly was a photographer, on the same grounds that the pictures she takes were inclined toward nudity. “But people need to understand that this is work and not that we do to show our body parts,” she says.

Workout

On her workout routine, Niler says she no longer spends long hours working out. “I now know what does what in my body,” says the Jasmine Tookes-inspired model.

“I don’t have a constant workout routine except a simple exercise to keep myself healthy.”

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Friday, August 4, 2017

INFERTILITY a touchy issue

 

By By Mlagiri Kopoka

Not having children has never been good news in most African communities that I know of and in some cultures it is regarded as a crime against humanity.

Senseless as it may sound such a person is thought of as unworthy of any respect.

In fact, some tribes in Bongo the blame is such belittling burial ceremonies are held for a person who remained fruitless in life.

Clearly to me if one should or shouldn’t have children is none of anyone’s business except the individual whether it’s out of choice or otherwise.

The story is even worst when the barren person is a woman.

You get all sorts of tales of why someone doesn’t have children, but some also have come with very weird solutions to the problem.

And in a society where belief in witchcraft and superstitions is still a common way of life solutions to such a problem can be really scary if not outright ridiculous.

Maria is a very attractive woman by all standards at 40 plus she stills makes necks crane with her slim well curved figure and her pretty face like Marylyn Monroe.

In addition Maria is quite educated by Bongo standards. She belongs to the old Pre- Zombie Form Four classes that few women at her time managed to graduate.

In fact, from those classes division zero that are so common these days were very rare.

Besides Maria and her beloved husband for 20 years Musa jointly own a string of successful businesses in town.

So as far as material wealth is concerned Maria has the world at her feet.

But she has one problem that continues to haunt her; barrenness.

At first she thought she had a medical condition to her condition. Then she was told that her mother-in-law was a witch and that she had cast a spell on her.

When the old lady died the story changed. She was at that point told she had a jinni that didn’t want her to bear children.

She got so desperate that she fell into one depression after another.

“Oh, I have tried everything I would. I have joined all sorts of religious faiths crying to God hoping he would open my womb but I still remain barren,” she laments bitterly.

She continues “I have visited countless doctors and clinics, taken all sorts tests but that hasn’t helped either.”

She describes how she has paid astronomical sums of money to traditional healers from as far as Kinshasa but all in vain.

“Some of these witch-doctors have made me do terribly shameful things,” she narrates.

She tells a tale of one witch-doctor who ordered her to walk naked to the top of a hill at mid-night carrying a pot of some concoction on her head.

When she got there to her shock and dismay she found the doctor whom she had left at the foot of the hill was already there at the top.

“It was a moonlit night, so I could see his shadow against the background of the dark sky. It was as if I was in a dream. Then I heard him ordering me to put the pot down on a rock near me.” Maria spoke a low voice.

She had been recently introduced to this Nigerian fellow whom she was told would do miracles. According to rumours he has already helped many women conceive.

She was even taken to meet a couple of women who claimed to have found salvation of being mothers though the doctor’s magic cure.

“Come on my daughter take off your clothes,” the doctor said.

The doctor then started feeling her sensitive areas as she lay on her back.

Maria knew she was about to be raped and she had to react immediately.

As we speak no one knows who is infertile between Maria and her husband.

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Friday, August 4, 2017

What are we missing without the awards?

 

By By Paul Owere

When the National Arts Council in collaboration with some stakeholders launched the Tanzania Music Awards in 1999, it was one of many music-centric telecasts that doled out awards and irreverence equally.

At that point in time apart from the International awards such as the MTV’s Video Music Awards, the Kora Awards, there were others in the neighbourhood such as the Kisima Music Awards in Kenya and PAM in Uganda.

Several years down the road, these awards are in a state of serious malaise with some already pronounced dead as there are no signs of survival.

It has been two years since the last Kilimanjaro Music Awards were held at Mlimani City Conference Hall; it was a scene that the industry had become accustomed to as the City’s glitterati converged.

The 15 years of the awards night had seen many come and go as it became a point of reference in every artiste’s career.

Those were days that every artiste and those who earn their bread through music looked forward to with glee.

The events that followed afterwards were always interesting especially as some got the bragging rights over their peers.

The abrupt hiatus that is yet to be explained by Basata and the sponsors Kilimanjaro left a great void, one that is yet to be filled and worse still, it remains a mystery as to when the next awards night shall take place. There are some who have either from a miss informed point of view bragged that the industry does not need the awards to prosper.

They believe that Bongo Flava as a genre is doing just fine even without the ceremonies, forgetting that these awards offered the only opportunity to celebrate our creative geniuses.

The Afrima story

It was rather not surprising two weeks ago when the Afrima announced the nominees for this award and the list was dominated by Tanzanian artistes such as Diamond, Vanessa Mdee, Dyna Nyange and many others.

The entries had been overwhelming with over 4000 received for the annual event which showed just how much these artistes were hungry for recognition by their fans and the industry.

According to Rikki Stein the massive entries was a sign that the creative industry is moving towards the right direction.

“This is tremendous news, indicative of an increasingly healthy music industry across Africa, particularly from a creative perspective. AFRIMA is plugged in to the aspirations of the African continent, providing a platform for excellence in the field of music and a source of inspiration and encouragement for its associated fields of endeavour,” he said.

He adds: As one by one, African artists are making their mark in the wider world, acting as ambassadors of their countries and their culture, the eyes and ears of that wider world are opening and turning towards Africa as the source of much more than entertainment.

Does it pay?

Many have wondered if artists get paid for winning these awards and performing at such awards ceremonies given the kind of pomp that was associated with it.

“At awards such as BET , Kora and MTV Africa we don’t get paid to perform there instead you have to use it as mileage to improve your marketing side and that is why you have to put your best foot forward,” Diamond told Tanzania Works, a video section on the Citizen website.

Contrary to the practice elsewhere in the beginning artistes were paid for every win but this was later stopped and instead they had to settle for the Kili tour which was equally lucrative.

At the Grammys it turns out that the Beyoncé’s and Rihanna’s of the world who cash in millions don’t get paid a cent when they grace the esteemed ceremony.

They don’t get a check for winning either; but those golden trophies could auction off for a hefty amount of dollars should they ever need the funds.

The live event is far from a loss though. Forbes reports that performers and producers see a Grammy Bounce’ of at least 55 per cent in concert ticket sales and producer fees during the year following a Grammy win. David Banner says that his producer fee jumped from $50,000 to $100,000 after his work on Lil Wayne’s single “Lollipop.”

What happens there after?

Co-producer Jim Jonsin, who also worked with Beyoncé, told DailyFinance.com that the rewards were “life-changing.” “If I really wanted to, I could charge a good 20 per cent to 30 per cent more. I didn’t raise my prices, though,” he said of his Grammy win. Pre Grammy-winning status, producers on average charge $30,000 to $50,000 per track.

If you’re fortunate enough to snag an award, though, Jonsin says that the starting figure is in the $75,000 area and super-producers like Timbaland and Pharrell can demand twice that.

Thanks to the high-profile night, stars benefit in mainstream visibility and in their pockets too. After winning his first Grammy, Bruno Mars’ average nightly gross swelled from $130,000 to $202,000.

Esperanza Spalding went from $20,000 to $32,000 and Taylor Swift jumped from $125,000 to $600,000.

And because it would be so tasteless for Hollywood to send its multi-millionaire guests home empty handed, celebrities leave the occasion with a gift bag worth more than some people’s salaries.

According to the TorontoSun.com, gifts include Tiffany cat collars, Gibson guitars, trips to deserted islands, cashmere sweaters, teeth whitening products, jewelry, sunglasses and designer leather bags.” The very generous goodies in 2010 reportedly came to about $50,000 in value.

So, no, music’s superstars don’t walk away with a physical check in tow.

The mere association to the Grammy’s, however, does fatten their wallets long after the special airs.

And just as it is in the West, local artistes here too saw their profiles balloon after the win, most notable, when Diamond in 2009 picked five gongs his personal and artistic life changed.

He got a rare profile to work with some of Africa’s superstars including Senegal’s Yussou N’dour.

His growing profile soon put him among the elite just as his asking price for shows soon began to shoot from a prodigy to a superstar.

Whatever followed was all history as he has become one of Africa’s most sought after performer in the modern days.

Though there have been other awards that have come up with the aim of filling the void, there is every indication that the Kili awards are sorely missed.

Whatever happened that forced the organisers to back out is still a point of debate but as they continue mulling over what the future holds it is obvious that the industry needs these awards.

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Friday, August 4, 2017

Chameleone finally admits it is over

 

Things have fallen apart for musician Jose Chameleone.

This comes after the singer took to social media to announce that he had finally broken up with his wife Daniella Atim Mayanja after several months of silence.

In a now-deleted Facebook post, he noted that Daniella deserves better and it was only right to let her go. He, however, noted that he will continue to take care of their children.

Meanwhile, the couple had just recently reconciled after Daniella threatened to file for divorce citing abusive behavior by the hubby.

In a poetic message he admits that he was not the man that Daniela met several years ago and he is sorry for how things had turned out.

This comes after several months of denial that everything was well in the Mayanja household.

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Friday, August 4, 2017

European Youth Film Contest unveils top 15

 

By By Paul Owere

The European Youth Film Competition 2017 this week announced the best films that have made it to the Top 15 at the contest.

The competition received 128 entries out of which 35 participants were selected to enter the competition.

After a three day workshop which was attended by 32 contestants, they were given a month to produce their films and by July 25 July, 23 films had been submitted in time for the selection.

Speaking at the unveiling of the Top 15 that made it the Head of the EU Delegation to Tanzania, Ambassador Roeland van de Geer the films that made it to the Top 15 had complied with theme and creativity.

“Following a three day workshop which covered the facts, figures and implications of population growth in Tanzania and all elements of film making from pre – to post-production, the contestants were well prepared to face the challenge of capturing their thoughts on the topic on film,” he said.

He added: The workshop demonstrated that the high population growth in Tanzania provides for opportunities but also poses significant challenges, for example for social services such as health, education as well as infrastructure.’

Organisers say 16 films have made it to the Top 15 (due to a tie in scores) after an evaluation by a panel of judges made up of Mr Richard Ndunguru, Mr Issa Mbura, Mr Amil Shvji, Mr Deepesh Shapriya, and a guest judge Ms Tulanana Buhohela. The films are attached.

The Top 15 films will be screened around Dar es Salaam at no cost to the general public who will be given a chance to vote for their favourite film.

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Friday, August 4, 2017

Is Mr Nice a man on the verge of a renaissance?



Mr Nice in an earlier photo shoot PHOTO | FILE

Mr Nice in an earlier photo shoot PHOTO | FILE 

By By Paul Owere

Dar es Salaam. At the peak of his career in early 2000s, Mr Nice was untouchable as he became one of the hottest items in Tanzania’s entertainment industry performing at sold-out venues.

His was a class above the rest at a time when many Bongo Flava artistes were struggling to gain roots in the nascent industry where artistes barely made any money.

There was something about him; his songs such as ‘Kikulacho’ and ‘Fagilia’ dominated airplay across the region and especially Kenya where he was such a big hit with his own Takeu style.

As many pundits admit he was a complete performer who swept audiences off their feet wherever he went. Years of mismanagement and drinking binges led to the obvious self distraction and his itinerary became rather dry with gigs hard to come by.

He was a good boy gone wild; images of him in drunken stupor became fodder to local tabloids that preyed on his downward spiral.

He could no longer release hit songs and any such attempts ended in some near catastrophe as he sounded flat.

The same media outlets that played his songs soon stopped playing his once upon a time great hits, some even came up with stories that the singer had died.

And as they say he was finished, he was a pale shadow of a singer who once wowed crowds with his dancing skills!

The fans that once adored him now slated him nothing was going toward his direction as he struggled to keep hold of his fan base.

As rumour has it he would soon turn to his properties to fund his pastime activity and soon he was broke beyond redemption.

He had to take refuge and his choice was rather obvious, he switched camp to Kenya where he was living at Kitengela a Nairobi Suburb.

Though there have been rumours that he was on the mend, there hasn’t been any new material coming from the king of Takeu. “I have new songs but surprisingly most of my fans are stuck to the old songs and that is what they want me to play for them at concerts,” Mr Nice told Shilawadu, a gossip programme on Clouds TV.

Then something happened!

Early this week WCB singer Harmonize released one of his latest singles ‘Sina’ one that came in a month that saw several releases from Bongo Flava.

Harmonize’s original choice for the video was supposed to be a certain Dallas who was once upon a time Jackline Wolper’s flame.

The song features Mr Nice in the video and to many it is a retrospect of the life that he led at the peak of his artistic power at the turn of the millennium.

“I had written this song that talks about someone who once had money but now didn’t and as I was struggling on the choice of characters one of my directors zeroed on Mr Nice,” says Harmonize.

It was something that he did not expect to be easy to pull but he had to trust his guts and it paid off.

“I tried several times to get him and after several attempts I finally managed to get hold of him. We discussed the arrangements and I sent him the air ticket after my management had approved,” says Harmonize. The song which is a week old has so far got almost a million views on Youtube with hundreds of comments, most of them positive.

Without the slightest tinge of nostalgia, Mr Nice says he does not regret what life has turned out to be and doesn’t think there is a thing he would like to change.

Commentators have been quick to praise his decision to take the opportunity that WCB has given him.

Just as it happened to Saida Karoli, they believe this could be the beginning of Mr Nice’s renaissance given the kind of power that the label wields both locally and beyond.

Only time will tell what Mr Nice will reap out of this liason.

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Friday, July 28, 2017

Abryanz fashion take over set for December

 

By By Paul Owere

Dar es Salaam. It has been five season down the lane and one of Africa’s most prestigious fashion event Abryanz Style and Fashion Awards (ASFAs) held in Kampala, Uganda is back!

The news of ‘big come back’ this year was officially made at the unveiling over the weekend.

Trading under different themes the 2017 edition is set to run under the theme “The Fashion Takeover” and some have already billed it the greatest edition that is set to shine a global spotlight on the African Fashion industry while highlighting creativity, achievement and excellence.

Speaking about the launch, the ASFAs founder Brian Ahumuza said the return of the edition was a symbol of how much they have grown over the years.

“As Abryanz Style and Fashion Awards return for the fifth edition now, we are so glad and excited that an idea that started five years ago has grown in bounds!” he said.

According to him they are now able to celebrate African stylists and designers who are breaking barriers in the fashion industry.

“This year, the event is going to be bigger and will be featuring fashion icons from all over the continent, like never before,” he says

The 2017 Abryanz Style and Fashion Awards are set to take place on the 8th of December at the Kampala Serena Hotel produced and directed by David Tlale from South Africa, Front of House Production from Kenya, together with Fenon Events and the ASFA team supported by MNT Consult.

Under this year’s theme “The Fashion Takeover”, the awards seek to recognize and reward outstanding personalities in the fashion industry who have impacted Uganda and Africa through excellence and creativity.

“In addition, we seek to bring to light the entrepreneurial and business aspect of the fashion industry that can be explored by the youth to better their lives and contribute positively to the economic growth of Africa. This will contribute to solving the ever-growing problem of unemployment in the wider East Africa,” says Ahumuza.

To stamp this theme, two new categories have been introduced: Fashion Entrepreneur of the year Uganda andFashion Entrepreneur Africa.

“The awards will go to individuals who have shown outstanding commercial success of their businesses or personal brands. To support the youth and aspiring fashion entrepreneurs,” he says.

Apart from the haute couture engagements this year, the ASFA will hold the inaugural ASFA Business workshop that will take place in November with the aim of empowering the youth with skills and knowledge of how to turn their passion into meaningful businesses and profit making ventures.

“This workshop will be free for all and will have a panel of personalities with success stories in the fashion industry, financial institutions and other stakeholders ready to educate and equip the youth,” says Ahumuza.

Abryanz Style and Fashion Awards brings together Africa’s fashion icons to celebrate the continent’s diversity through culture and style.

The event has attracted some of the most prolific designers and entertainers in past editions from South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

As a build up to the awards, the event is already gearing up to host a star –studded line up of fashion leaders from across the continent under the Bell Jamz Experience.

This according to organisers will bring the best of entertainment from Uganda and across Africa.

“Some of Africa’s biggest artistes and performers have already been booked to perform at this year’s event.”

Kampala being the host city, Kampala Capital City Authority has partnered with the ASFAs to market the city to Africa and the rest of the world.

“I am excited and supportive of Brian and the team for a fantastic job, marketing our city, our country, profiling us in such a beautiful way” said Jennifer Musisi the executive director KCCA.

NTV Uganda which is part of the Nation media group has captured a huge and loyal audience with quality and excellence in entertainment and programming, with an award winning line up of both local and international content.

The ASFAs will air live on NTV on the 8th of December and live streamed on all their social media platforms and Vid-TV.

NTV Uganda is Mwananchi Communications Limited sister station in Uganda.

The Abryanz Style and Fashion Awards (ASFAs) which was established in 2013 is an annual continental celebration of Fashion and Style held in Uganda.

Following a successful 3-year run, they expanded their reach to the rest of Africa in 2016. The ASFAs aims to recognize excellence in fashion and art achievements in Africa with a vision is to create a prestigious and very professional platform that will help boost the fashion industry and see Uganda and the rest of Africa competing fairly on the international market.

The show goes under different themes each year and attracts international media coverage

from the media agencies such as BET and BBC.

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Friday, July 28, 2017

Jux and Vanessa turn on ‘Kisela’ mode

 

What was once a beautiful Bongo Flava couple that sent tongues wagging at celebrity events is now broken.

Tanzanian songstress and her ex-boyfriend Juma Jux have both separately confirmed that they two are no more.

Something that is rather confusing is that Vanessa has always been quick to quip that she will always love Jux.

Days after Vanessa Mdee confirmed that they had broken up, it seems Juma, her stylish ex-boyfriend has successfully moved on.

He was recently seen at a pool party having good times with some lasses, perhaps to make him forget Vanessa’s love. But then, where did the rain start beating them you ask?

Well, according to Vanessa Mdee’s teaser of her new song Kisela, someone might have cheated. Speaking on Leo Tena , the Dume Suruali singer said that she and Jux broke up over irreconcilable differences.

“We were together. It was a lot that was going on at the time, I’m just happy that we are just over it.”

t is still not just not clear to an average fan given the level of commitment that the two had toward each other’s works with their collaboration Juu highlighting how committed they were towards work.

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Friday, July 28, 2017

When Mkanyia took ‘Bangili’ to Ethiopia

 

By By Paul Owere

Swahili Blues is Leo Mkanyia’s trade mark; one that he speaks about proudly for it is an identity for a man who chose to do things differently.

And in an industry that is saturated with almost the same stuff he has every reason to thump his chest over his uniqueness, for it is a brand that has taken him places.

Two months ago, Leo Mkanyia and Swahili Blues Band have released his third studio album titled Bangili one that was recorded in Ketebul Music Studios in Nairobi.

Though he sticks to his blue print, the new album takes a slight departure with several collaborations from across the border.

The new album features a host of Kenyan musicians such as Winyo Shiphton, a saxophonist, Juma Tutu from Swahili Jazz, Nyota Ndogo and Makadem among others.

Though the launch was in the usual Leo mkanyia way at the Alliance Francaise featuring a couple of other artistes from Dar , it was about time to sample what the rest of Africa thought about Bangili.

Throughout June Leo was in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he shared ‘Bangili’ with his Abyssinian audience for the first time.

While in Ethiopia, Leo and the Swahili Blues Band staged several shows that drew record attendances at different venues around the city of Addis.

“Music has a universal language and that is why it was easy to connect with the audience that barely speaks Kiswahili given the fact that most of our songs are in our native Swahili,” Leo told The Beat.

The Ethiopian expedition included a rare chance of playing alongside famous Ethiopian Jazz guitarist Girum Mezmur who is also a teacher in Jazzamba school of Jazz Music in Addis Ababa.

“This was a privilege given what Girum Mezmur has achieve in the past two decades as a performer, producer and as well as an instructor. He co-founded the Jazzamba Music School and also teaches at the Yared Music School in Addis Ababa Ethiopia,” says Leo.

According to him it was always interesting and good to play and sing to an audience that was enthusiastic something he rarely gets especially when singing in a language that the audience doesn’t understand.

“When you find yourself in this kind situation then you have to be real good and technical in the art of sound which is music itself,” said Leo Mkanyia.

This was the second time for the band to tour Ethiopia and to them it is always an experience that they cherish given the diversity that it brings.

“ For us as musicians to perform outside our comfort zone or our countries strengthens the cultures of both sides, because people would learn from you and at the same time you also learn from them and this is how we grow as artiste,” says Leo Mkanyia

The Swahili Blues Band is made up of five experienced musicians who have worked together for a very long time.

The group has learnt a lot from Henry Mkanyia (Leo’s father) who used was part of DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra aka Sikinde for more than 15 years.

During his time, Henry recorded a number of popular albums and also toured Europe extensively in the early 90s with the famous Mlimani Park Orchestra.

Kilimatinde Mohamed Selemani aka Mr energy is a percussionist whereas Simon Costa plays the low frequency guitar aka bass guitar doctor while Jose Dose is on the drum kit.

One of the unique features of this band is that every member is a multi-instrumentalist which means they can all sing and play several instruments.

In Dar es Salaam, the band plays regularly at the Serena Hotel on Fridays and at Coco Beach on Wednesdays.

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Friday, July 28, 2017

the soft power that artistS wield

 

By By Paul Owere

The cool monsoon winds blew that made relaxing on the beach rather a fulfilling experience in Bel Ombre, Southern Mauritius after six days of rigorous routine.

There was a great sense of expectation for the evening was set to be a must attend event for the Pan African guests who had come from almost every corner of the vast continent to converge at the Multi Choice content showcase. Later on in the evening as expected it is a full house and on stage Tanzania’s Diamond Platnumz is performing one of his popular records, ‘Number One’ and the audience is singing along.

They can hardly tell what the Bongo Flava crooner is singing about but they just can’t help singing along , some brave ones later reach out to find out the meaning in the words.

This scenario is one that has repeated itself several times when Tanzanian musicians go beyond their borders with the latest being a show in Goma where a whole stadium was sold out. And such is the power of music as it connects people and sometimes even force people to learn new languages which on an ordinary day they wouldn’t have.

It is not a surprise that some refer to Tanzania, the country where great muscicians come from, for them that is the closest relationship.

They seem to be succeeding on frontier that men in suits and officialdom have failed in the solemn goal of promoting Kiswahili and Tanzania as a tourist destination by choice.

And this is nothing but the work of art as a form of ‘soft power’ something that former President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete believes has not been put to good use given the popularity of these artistes.

They dominate playlists on both TV and Radio from Lagos to Dar es Salaam, however, what irks the President is that this continental dominance is not being put to good use to promote the country’s cause.

Two weeks ago, while addressing a packed audience at the Zanzibar International Film Festival 2017, the President reiterated the need for organisations to use artists as a marketing tool for their agenda.

In world where credibility has become such a scarce commodity, he believes artistes get that more easily than any other professional.

According to him artistes can navigate places where officialdom and diplomacy has failed because they connect directly with their fans especially in today’s world where technology has made the world a small place.

He gives the example of Michael Jackson’s concert in Moscow which was at the height of the Cold War era.

“When the Americans realised how the Russians loved Michael Jackson’s music, they allowed him to go and perform there and he brought the house down,” quipped Mr Kikwete who is a self confessed admirer of works of art.

According to Mr Kikwete there was more to gain than lose in embracing artists as ambassadors.

‘Soft power’ a term that was coined by Harvard’s Joseph Nye uses cultural and artistic appeal, ethical values, and foreign policies in order to convince people to join a particular cause.

Nye describes it as the ability to attract and win people over, rather than by coercion something that arts has been able to do for ages.

While the public sector makes a habit of institutionalising art through commissioning, purchasing and promoting it, it also gives it a strong educational character, using it to impose or maintain certain values and even social trends.

Contemporary art has played a key role in the widespread social campaigns against antiquated and bigoted mentalities that continue to somehow shape our society in the 21stcentury.

Mirrors today’s culture and society and it has the power to further shape the minds of younger generations to come – while art collectors and galleries thrive from the business of buying and selling works that typically don’t fit within a specific style, millennials follow it and absorb its underlying messages of tolerance and peace, both equally precious and highly valued today.

Contemporary art now incorporates digital mediums and has managed to blur the line between reality and fiction, with the help of surprising installations displayed in otherwise regular locations such as supermarkets, parks and the very streets we walk through every day.

And that’s where the soft power stems from: messages and ideas are no longer confined to the walls and glass boxes of museums, they’re out in the open for everyone to see and they speak to more than just art aficionados.

And they’re often regarded as political, social or ecological activists. Three months ago at the peak of the Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner’s standoff with the media something rather bizarre happened, Ney wa Mitego released a rather controversial song titled Wapo.

The arts council swung into action, the song was banned but for some reason it was already being played by boda boda taxis riders.

The song drew widespread condemnation and praise in equal proportions; he was summoned by police and held for several hours in Morogoro before he was taken to Dar.

The messages in there were not very comfortable with some people in hierarchy; he had touched on some of the dark sides of our society.

It took the presidential intervention for him to walk free again.

Contemporary art as medium of expression speaks out against homophobia, against racism and intolerance; it challenges consumerism and it defends the rights of women and children worldwide; it calls out on corrupted politicians and authority figures, and it underlines the tragic outcomes of the capitalism that has come to shape our daily lives.

Ultimately, artists often end up saying things that even the mainstream media seems to forget – and the people listen. The people watch and they understand the message and in that way artists are bound to be portraying what Tanzania is more than what the cultural officials at Basata can do.

It is, therefore, no brainer that the Former President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete thinks they have a role in promoting the Made in Tanzania Brand, one that is currently struggling.

A certain part of this article was taken from a publication by Coshamie

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Friday, July 28, 2017

dowry A cause of violence

 

By By Mlagiri Kopoka

Two years ago it came as some unexpected news when a certain young woman emerged winner of the Tarime Urban Parliamentary seat. Her win was greeted with a celebration.

Esther had comprehensively beaten a long list of male contenders who were once untouchable something that came as a wakeup call on the changing times in Mara or may be Tanzania in general.

Then there was this woman on TV urging women and government to take deterrent measures to stop domestic violence.

According to her what has been happening in Mara was a disgrace to the country the image of the country.

My friend Mwita Marwa thinks the problem in Mara is rooted in only one thing; cut women! I wondered whether Marwa was really serious with what he was saying.

“I come from Mara bwana. I know what I am saying. Women are paid for huge dowries which sometimes can add up to dozens of cows. However, if the woman isn’t circumcised, she worthless,” he said, as he thumped his chest.

According to Marwa, circumcision makes the women less horny and hard working. “One woman is equal to one tractor. So every man there wishes to have as many as possible to increase productivity.”

“What if you get a lazy bride?” I asked.

“There are no lazy women in Mara. You know why?”

“Of course I don’t,” I said.

“Ha, wife battering is part of the romance in Mara. A lazy woman gets most of that from her husband.”

My thought of that being a crazy ingredient of romance on triggered a delirious laughter as he went on to pelt me with his so-called facts.

“To the man, a woman is not only a wife but also a faithful servant. She also has to produce as many children as possible, family planning is unheard of,” he said.

“To the father marrying off his daughter; it is a source of wealth, yes, a daughter is supposed to fetch as many cows in bride price as her beauty can attract. The cows she brings help her father and bothers to marry more wives for the family.”

That’s why cows are so precious in Mara. Men hunt cows for dowry. This cattle rustling leaves many dead and others seeking for revenge. One revenge leads to another and the vicious circle of violence continues.

If it is because men need cows for dowry that is causing all this trouble perhaps the government should introduce other ways of combating the acquisition of wives. Maybe a bajaji for parents who let their daughters get married for not more than a single cow.

As I was still mulling over my conversation with Marwa, I met this belle in a bus who sat next to me. She was all that you can call truly beautiful, that curvy figure that most men crave for, a smooth skin, just name it she had it all, she even had dimples that showed each time she gave me that killer smile.

However, the problem came when she introduced herself as somebody Chacha. This is when I remembered Marwa’s intriguing story, “she must have scars, not with all the beatings,” I thought.

“Are you from Mara?” I asked, just to make sure.

“Yes, I am actually from Tarime.”

As a coincidence we alighted at the same bus stop. We really got talking and as I was preparing to ask her if she too had undergone that other procedure, a mob chasing a suspected thief interfered with our conversation.

To my surprise this beauty joined the mob. She picked a rock and hit the guy.

“Why was she doing this?” I wondered. “Does she know what the victim had stolen? I was shocked. I managed to pull her away from the mob. She wasn’t pleased at all. She shrugged me off

“Leave me alone! Thieves must be punished,” she said. “Are you sure he is a thief?”

“Can’t you see he is being beaten? He has to be a thief.

“What has he stolen?” I asked.

“Wewe bwana, are you one of them?”

“What?”

“Yes you, in Mara people like.....”

I didn’t wait to hear the rest.

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Friday, July 28, 2017

More trouble for Zari in SA

 

Socialite Zari Hassan seem to be heading for some tough times ahead as a legal battle brews over the ownership of her ex husband’s estates.

According to Ugandan celebrity website Big Eye , a relative of the late Ivan Ssemwanga has flown to South Africa to file a court case regarding ownership of some of the properties.

The unrest come s just days after Zari buried her mother and she was forced to fly to South Africa in a contingency plan and she was soon sharing photos of her resumption to work at one of the Brooklyn Colleges.

After her husband’s funeral Zari had been granted permission to run the businesses that belonged to her ex husband despite the fact that she is now in a relationship with Bongo Flava’s Diamond Platnumz.

It is said that the schools and property in South Africa is registered under ownership of Ali Senyomo, an alias that Ivan Ssemwanga adopted and has been using to conduct businessman in South Africa following his ban.

It is this technicality that the said relative is hoping to exploit, even when it will expose the fraud committed by Ssemwanga and risks the family losing the entire property.

Meanwhile, Zari, who is the mother of the late tycoon’s three children, was named custodian of Ssemwanga’s assets in South Africa including his schools and houses. She was charged with ensuring that the schools continue running smoothly in a family meeting that was held days after Ssemwanga’s burial.

Kampala. Socialite Zari Hassan seem to be heading for some tough times ahead as a legal battle brews over the ownership of her ex husband’s estates.

According to Ugandan celebrity website Big Eye , a relative of the late Ivan Ssemwanga has flown to South Africa to file a court case regarding ownership of some of the properties.

The unrest come s just days after Zari buried her mother and she was forced to fly to South Africa in a contingency plan and she was soon sharing photos of her resumption to work at one of the Brooklyn Colleges.

After her husband’s funeral Zari had been granted permission to run the businesses that belonged to her ex husband despite the fact that she is now in a relationship with Bongo Flava’s Diamond Platnumz.

It is said that the schools and property in South Africa is registered under ownership of Ali Senyomo, an alias that Ivan Ssemwanga adopted and has been using to conduct businessman in South Africa following his ban.

It is this technicality that the said relative is hoping to exploit, even when it will expose the fraud committed by Ssemwanga and risks the family losing the entire property.

Meanwhile, Zari, who is the mother of the late tycoon’s three children, was named custodian of Ssemwanga’s assets in South Africa including his schools and houses. She was charged with ensuring that the schools continue running smoothly in a family meeting that was held days after Ssemwanga’s burial.

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Another tragic loss for socialite Zari Hassan

 

Dar es Salaam. It is almost two months since she lost the father of her son and when everyone thought she was about to overcome grief, tragedy struck again yesterday morning when Zari lost her mother.

“It’s with deep sorrow that my family and I announce the death of our lovely mother who passed on this morning. May her soul rest in peace, May Allah forgive you your sins and grant you Jana,” she announced.

She added in a post: You will forever be loved our Old Sun, us as your kids were given the best from God as our mother. We appreciate all you did for us. We will forever cherish you Mama.

According to a celebrity website Big Eye, Zari’s mother who was 57 had been admitted in the intensive care unit at Nakasero Hospital for weeks reportedly nursing heart-related complications. .

It is not clear whether the Ugandan socialite who also has two other children with Tanzanian singer Diamond was in the country by the time of her mother’s death.

The sad news comes at a time when it was rumoured that Diamond had just acquired plush property in one of Nairobi’s leafy suburbs.

‘Word on the street is that the father of two has bought an apartment in one of the leafy suburbs in Nairobi, and the deal was sealed last Friday, when he was in the county,’ reported the Star. According to the website, the singer went on to post a video showing off the interior of an expensive apartment, where he spent time while in the city, captioning it, “My apartment”.

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Wedding bells toll for rapper AY

 

By Paul Owere Dar es Salaam

He had been known to be one of the most eligible bachelors in East Africa but that is all set to change for rapper AY.

After almost nine years of dating the ‘Zigo’ rapper last weekend went down on one knee to propose to his long time girlfriend Remmy.

As opposed to other celebrities AY’s relationship with the Rwandan beauty has been a low profile affair that at some point it sparked rumours whether there was really a relationship.

“I met Remmy in 2008 in Kigali and one thing led to another and here we are, I felt it was time to pop the big question,” AY exclusively told The Beat.

According to the rapper it has been one step at a time and he felt it was just about that time to open another chapter in his life and they are expected to tie the knot very soon on a date that is yet to be confirmed.

“God willing you will be invited very soon to the wedding because that is part of the plan,” said AY.

AY’s proposal comes just a week after another rapper Prof Jay tied the knot with long time girl friend Grace at a lavish ceremony in Dar es Salaam.

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Did Diamond owe Hawa anything?



Paul Owere

Paul Owere 

By Paul Owere

Several years ago while Diamond was still an up and coming young singer he did a collabo with another little known singer called Hawa in a song called ‘Nitarejea.’

The song became a hit and is still an emotional song that is played around radio station but whatever became of Hawa nobody could tell but this was not until this week.

It has emerged that Hawa was struggling with alcohol abuse problems and that she was depressed after her husband deserted her.

There has been this loose talk of how Diamond had not forgotten about Hawa to the extent of conveying a message that suggest that the singer owed her something.

This is rather bizarre, especially with the fact that it was a mere collaboration and not a band.

As we all know collaborations are supposed to help both artistes and it how an artiste uses the limelight that comes with it is another case all together.

The truth is that Hawa failed to grab the opportunity which is rather very unfortunate.

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Will Yamoto find joy after split?

 

Dar es Salaam. Three years ago Yamoto Band was the reference point in Bongo Flava; they were doing just what many young musicians weren’t doing.

They had discipline; very well organized, all under the tutelage of Mkubwa Fella aka Said Fella and they were soon enjoying the fruits of hard work. They were stars who were destined for greatness.

Their 2014 hit single Nitakupwelepweta is still one of the biggest songs to be released by a Tanzanian band with close to some 5 million views on YouTube.

The following year, they came up with hits such as Mahaba Niuwe and Cheza kwa Madoido and quickly rose to regional prominence.

However, since the release of Mama in February last year, fame and fortune seems to have worked against them and it wasn’t a surprise to see each band member settling for a solo project.

Fingers have been pointed and unfriendly remarks too have been made for what seems to be thunderous fall for a group that was once the envy of many.

Rumours started spreading early this year after the group abandoned the house they were living in Tabata, a suburb in Dar es Salaam.

Said Fella, the man accredited with pulling the four boys who make the Yamoto music group together, is trying to play down the obvious eventuality.

Speaking to Bongo 5 recently, the prominent businessman, tried to absolve Dogo Aslay of any blame, saying it was being economical with the truth for each artiste to try to gain prominence than use the group for growth.

“When Yamoto started, I wanted Alsay to hold the hands of the others so that they become popular. But business has changed and groups are no longer in demand.

The fee for a group is very different compared to that of an individual artiste,” says Fella, of the situation that has Yamoto fans disappointed. According to Fella it was mainly a business decision, one that forced them out of a hilarious show like Sauti Za Busara in February.

As many groups such as Sarabi and Sauti Sol will confess Busara is an ideal platform that thrusts artistes to the greater international platform.

This was a missed opportunity that probably could have save face but the seeds of disintegration had been sown, they withdrew at the last minute.

“When people hear the fee Yamoto demands, they run away yet they can pay an individual artiste up to Sh1.8 million. We looked at the situation and decided, as management, to let each artiste earn from their own sweat,” he says.

But why is Fella absolving Dogo Aslay of any crime? Did the Kusema artiste, who was already a star before the group came about, become too selfish for the group?

According to Beka Flavour, a member of Yamoto, Aslay was the reason the group was disbanded.

“We asked ourselves why Aslay had been allowed to released a song while we were silent as if we do not have the talent to that, so we decided to go our separate ways and do what he did, so we asked the management and Fella said we are growing up so we need to try things out,” says Beka.

The statement contradicts Fella and shows the deep-seated animosity Aslay had created in the group.

Aslay on his part blamed poor decisions, he points out the financial problems the group had ran into.

“When we released the Madoido video, we had so many shows and zero time to enable us to shoot more videos but we were also building houses and we sort of lost focus,” he says.

“We came back and did Suu, which we did in Zanzibar and we had money to shoot the next video in South Africa, but we ended up doing things that derailed us and talking about them would be opening closed wounds,” he adds.

Yamoto’s breaking up, much as it will be heart-breaking for many fans of the boy band, won’t be the first case of a high profile group to do so in Bongo.

TMK was among the early groups to break up at the peak of their powers.

The super group, from Temeke in Dar es Salaam, was so popular that former President Jakaya Kikwete tried to intervene to stop the infighting. East Coast Team and Gangwe Mob also split much to the disappointment of fans.

Veteran bongo artiste Inspector Harun alludes to the inevitability of groups breaking up, saying people grow up and interests change.

“Maybe the kids have grown up and want to do things differently, which is not discouraged, so long as there is respect and there is recognition of what each want to achieve,” he said.

This is not a new thing as several successful groups in the past have disintegrated in search of success. Groups such as Gangwe Mob, TMK, Hard Blasters’ Crew, Kwanza Unit just to mention a few.

Those who left thes groups went on to be successful with rapper Prof Jay being one of those who found success after he left hard Blasters.

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Friday, July 21, 2017

The difficult dialogues at ZIFF 2017

 

By Paul Owere

Zanzibar. Twenty years ago when ZIFF was born, it was more out of curiosity, not even the founders expected to see what the festival has evolved into.

To their doubters it was more of a wishful thinking that was completely void of the stack reality on the ground.

And in Hassan Mitawi’s own words ‘the baby has now grown and now knocking on the doors of the world’ seeking recognition among the best film festivals in the world.

The 20th edition of the festival at the humble settings of the Old Fort in Stone Town was indeed a testimony on just how far they have come and what they have achieved in the years gone by.

From the opening ceremony which was graced by former President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete to the subsequent nine days of film screening there was an air of the extravaganza coming of age.

This turned out to be a festival that brought together film and other creative arts experts from all over the world as over 14000 visitors descended on the Spice Islands.

As part of the proceedings there was the Women Panorama, Children’s Panorama, Soko Filam, and Workshops on script writing and acting plus several related issues.

For some film makers this was their moment of breakthrough, when Amby Lusekelo went to the festival little did she know that she would end up with up to some $200,000 budget to make a film.

This was all courtesy of the pitching session that was held by D Street’s CEO Dexter Davis which she won.

This, too, turned out to be a place for what could pass as difficult dialogues as those in attendance sought navigate the festival’s path towards a brighter future.

Call for modernity

But as the festival welcomed a cosmopolitan audience that filled the Ngome Kongwe Amphitheater on a daily basis, some things seem to have remained the same.

The surroundings remain very humble and a bit dusty, one that not many celebrities would love to associate with on a daily basis. Speaking at the opening Ceremony former President Kikwete called on the organisers to make the festival a ‘big thing’ because there is every indication that it can get there.

“We cannot continue this way if we want to reach the levels of the Cannes and Toronto film festivals, we have to modernise to attract the so-called celebrities here,” he said

This, according to President Kikwete who is a self confessed admirer of works of art, will reinforce the position of the festival as destination of choice that industry people cannot afford to ignore on their calendars.

“I have heard from the Chairman Mahmoud Kombo that over 14000 visitors have come here but that number can still grow and in the process bring more income to both the festival and Zanzibar,” he said.

Zanzibar versus Mainland

This festival has always attracted debate of all types from whether it suits an international status to who really should be attending the films.

This year was not an exception; there were some bizarre issues that left many a reveller in dismay.

On the opening night which is usually a grand night that kick starts the proceedings there was no Zanzibar government official from the arts and culture ministry.

The absence of a high profile official from the government was rather suspect and as Mr Kikwete remarked in a traditional proverb.

“Guests cannot come to your daughter’s wedding reception and for some reason you are not there,” he said.

The same scenario played again on the closing ceremony taking away the element of coincidence.

Top officials had decided to shun the festival and those who attended had come given their own long term association with ZIFF such as the Minister of Health Mahmoud Kombo who doubles as the ZIFF chair.

This awful air needs urgent redress as there is growing concern that local people want the festival to be run by people from the Isles.

They feel those from the mainland are imposing certain things on them.

It was rather uncomfortable when a female ZBC TV journalist said it on the festival director Daniel Nyalusi’s face that they were getting tired of the festival being run by people from the Mainland.

To her, these people are detached from what the Zanzibaris aspire for and want.

The same old pet peeve

Film festivals come with glamour and drama too, as they form a melting pot where paths cross each other and in the process crafting lasting memories.

This doesn’t seem to be the case for the local people, despite the festival waving the entry fee for the films at all the four venues; they were mostly filled by visitors.

For a festival of this magnitude to realise its dreams local people have to understand its aspirations and therefore become part of it.

Many of those who attended were more interested in the music and performing arts events that take place at the adjacent Mambo Club.

This time around organisers decided that they would only host local groups and artistes with the exception of Afrotronics from Canada.

This, as agreed by many it is taking away glamour from the festival, something that is quite different from what other festivals do.

As Tanzanians shy away from the opportunities that this festival provides people elsewhere are taking up the opportunity.

Whereas the film school by Maisha Film Lab provided an opportunity for young aspiring actors, not many local people took it up!

Many of those in attendance had come from Kenya, South Africa, some few from the University of Dar es Salaam and other parts of the World. This was a shame!

Lessons in Bongo Movies

Our local film makers are struggling in all frontiers, in the absence of a true film industry that is supported by enough cinemas and a distribution chain, it is an industry that is in turmoil. But even then there seems to be some positive news coming from that end of town as some filmmakers are showing the so called legends just how to do it.

Directors like Amil Shivji and Nicholas Marwa whose films were picked for the opening and closing have shown that with some hard work and creativity local films can go the distance.

Their use of first time actresses in Hawa Ally who won the best actress in T-Junction and Antu Mendoza in Kiumeni was a master class.

They have show just how abundantly endowed this industry is, therefore, there is no use to keep recycling artists who are well beyond their prime.

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Friday, July 14, 2017

Soundtrack letting down filmmakers

 

By By Paul Owere

Zanzibar. Music forms an integral part of film making as sound tracks which help to convey the intended message that the story intends to convey.

No wonder it continues being part of the Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) 20 years after it was founded.

This week at one of the workshops that are taking place at the Zanzibar international Film Festival this came out as a major discussion as it seems to be a neglected element in film making in Africa.

Speaking at the workshop South Africa composer and musician Rashid Lanie said most film makers think of the soundtrack as one of the last things that they do after they have shot the film

“Music serves several purposes that are either important on the emotional side of the movie or help enhance the storytelling element which is so special,” said Lanie who is also a film maker.

According to him it is not only helpful but essential for any director or producer to keep the music in mind when planning to shoot the movie.

“For example collages that practically don’t work at all without film music can have a fantastic effect later with the appropriate music,” he says.

“Human beings are very good at interpreting sound. Right back to when our prehistoric selves will have heard a twig snap in a forest and thought ‘that’s it, I’m dead. We have a very deep understanding of what music is doing, and it’s very physical,” he says.

The sound that the viewers feel can produce all sorts of physical responses, including in the right circumstances.

Lanie believes that because of improper planning most filmmakers find themselves in an improvising mode which sometimes forces them to use works that are not even related to the plot.

When well planned it helps set the tone of the movie. Just by the way the score comes in for the first time in the movie makes it possible to know the genre and the “level of drama” of the movie. Of course exactly this really strong function can be used to create plot twists,” adds Lanie.

The veteran composer who featured strongly in “Kalushi: The Story of Solomon Mahlangu” says that on the very day that the plot of a film is conceived the film maker should set off with plans to what he thinks the Soundtrack should be.

His argument to most of those at the workshop that was well received with one participant suggesting that before movies had voices, they had music.

“From silent films to today’s computer-generated extravaganzas, film composers use the score to help tell the story, fulfilling the vision of the movie’s director. A movie’s score engages the senses of the moviegoer, instilling emotions, establishing a mood, creating plot relationships and communicating time and place,” says one woman who only identified herself as Amina.

She adds: Film composers carefully choose instrumentation and sound to set a mood or tone for each scene in a film. The music telegraphs whether something is serious, suspenseful, joyful or amusing.

Lanie says it is high time that this gets addressed by filmmakers on the continent if at all they are to compete with the rest of the world.

Over the years the importance of music in film for the average film goer who are the primary target of the films has slowly and steadily dwindled.

“While the Golden Age of Hollywood brought fantastic scores from such films as “Gone With The Wind”, T”he Adventures of Robin Hood”, “Captain from Castil”e and others, the 1970’s gave us such brilliant scores as Jerry Goldsmith’s Patton and Chinatown, John Williams’ Star Wars,” he says.

And there seems to be consensus as most agree that the problem isn’t with the quality of output today but with the perception of importance that the score provides to the film.

He reckons that filmmaking as a trade is tedious but directors can get this out of their cards by hiring the services of music suoervisor.

“Most music supervisors service directors by helping them match a post-production budget with the appropriate music to parallel the directors’ sensibility and the scene’s required mood.

Documentarians often get stuck with a scene where the music is built-in, and they then have to clear the particular song heard in the scene. Yet in reality music is expensive, and because it is copyrighted, permissions must be granted, making the process long and arduous.”     

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Friday, July 7, 2017

When Fiesta crossed from DAr to kigali

 

By By Paul Owere

Dar es Salaam. It is 16 years since the Fiesta was first rolled out and one of the dreams of its founders was to take the party trail beyond the borders of Tanzania.

With the local edition of the famous festival yet to take place PrimeTime Promotions the organisers of the extravaganza chose what many thought was the most unlikely destination.

They chose Rwanda as their latest frontier and according to them it was no brainer given the recent positive stories that have come from East Africa’s smallest nation.

Ruge Mutahaba defends his choice by saying when they compared the cards with the other countries in the East African Community, Rwanda ticked all the boxes.

“Our choice for Rwanda was out of the most obvious issues such as security and the organizational levels,” he says.

It was a choice that didn’t let them down as revellers turned up in large numbers to witness some of Tanzania’s biggest stars plus Jamaican outfit Morgan Heritage.

“It was an audience that was highly charged as they sang along from the beginning to the end,” says Ruge.

His view was supported by local news papers including the New Times that reported that the show belonged among the biggest shows that have ever happened in Rwanda.

“Not even the out-of-town location at Golden Tulip Hotel in Nyamata could deter attendance as the hotel staged arguably their biggest music gig to date,” reported New Times.

With a good line up of artists and good timing, nothing could probably have gone wrong in the end, it was the best of Rwanda, Tanzania and Jamaica on stage.

Jamaican reggae band Morgan Heritage came with not just their conscious reggae lyrics, but also some good words for their Rwandan fans.

The band and Tanzanian Bongo Flava star Diamond Platnumz were the night’s main acts and in the end, it was the person with the biggest fan base that crowned the night.

One thing that was clear is that most revellers had braved the chill to see Diamond who had brought to them what they love most.

Morgan Heritage may be a bigger musical name internationally, but they were no match for Chibu Dangote, the nickname that fans kept chanting in reference to Platnumz. There were others who had made the party too from Tanzania such as Chege, who performed a number of songs to his name. Though on playback, the former TMK Wanaume was a hit amongst the audience.

Tanzanian songstress Vanessa Mdee gave fans both music and the other thing for which she is well known for – her revealing stage costumes.

Vee Money was accused of lip-synching her songs during her performance but fans did not complain and seemed to talk more about how she and her queen dancers were dressed than how or what she sung. The Niroge singer put in energetic dance moves which mesmerised the crowd.

Morgan Heritage then stepped on stage shortly after midnight, and immediately launched into Tell Me How Come.

The band delivered the typical Jamaican set, mixing their songs with a few other reggae classics from other Jamaican musicians. In the middle of their performance one of the band members, Peter Morgan took time off for what he called “real talk” with his Rwandan fans:

“Rwanda has set an example and you’ve set the bar so high for the rest of the world,” he stated emphatically, sending the crowd into prolonged cheers.

Diamond did not waste time as he stepped on the stage, wading into over a dozen of his popular hits, delivering almost two hours of music, accompanied by ecstatic dance moves. He performed almost every song he has released.

From the earlier ones like Mbagala, Mawazo and Nataka Kulewa to the latest ones including Utanipenda, Marry You and Kidogo.

In another development, Ruge rubbished the rumours that the Tanzanian edition of the extravaganza wouldn’t take place.

“I really don’t know where these rumours are coming from but we are all set for the Tanzanian edition which is set to kick off in August, ”he says.

He however couldn’t mention where the festival would launch the local edition.

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