Friday, July 13, 2018

A star cast as Jux and Vanessa thrill Mtwara with song and dance

 

Mtwara. This is probably what the industry has been waiting for, artistes organising their own tours instead of waiting for corporate arrangements.

Their tour is now confirmation that it can be done and all they need is proper organisation and management.

This is what Tanzania’s celebrity couple Vanessa and Jux have come to prove as they hosted the second leg of their In Love and Money Tour in Mtwara featuring an array of Bongo Flava artistes

The duo’s concert in Mtwara over the weekend, which attracted almost 10,000 music fans at Nangwanda Sijaona Stadium turned out to be a show to reckon with.

There were great performances from Mister Kreest, Mimi Mars, Barnaba, Ben Pol. However, Chege Chigunda stole the show and delivered great performance to remember, one that got fans on their feet as they sang along.

The main acts Vanessa and Jux went on stage to perform their hit single ‘Juu’ which was beautifully choreographed as love filled the chilly Mtwara night.

Their next stop is set to be Dodoma as they head towards the northern tourist circuit before finally bring the show to its cradle in Dar es Salaam towards the end of July.

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Friday, July 13, 2018

Rapper AY not slowing down soon

 

Bongo Flava rapper AY this week released his latest single ‘Microphone’ which is a collaboration with fellow rapper FidQ.

The new single is a follow up to his October release that saw him team up with former East Coast crew member MwanaFA in ‘Upo Hapo’. Speaking to the Beat from Los Angeles California, the rapper said the track was produced by veteran producer Hermy B who has worked with him in the past on some of his projects at B Hitz Studios in Dar es Salaam. “I have been a bit slow but there is plenty of unreleased work and it is just a matter of time before they hit the airwaves,” he said. The rapper who got married recently prior to this had enjoyed great success with hit single ‘Zigo Remix’ featuring Diamond Platnumz. AY known to be one of the pioneers of Bongo Flava has maintained unrivaled success in the industry at a time when some of his compatriots seemed to be slowing down.

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Friday, July 13, 2018

Tulia festival names date

 

Dar es Salaam. The Tulia Traditional Dances Festival is set to be held in Rungwe in Mbeya Region from September 20, the event organisers announced this week.

The event which is under Tulia Trust was founded by the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of Tanzania Dr Tulia Ackson.

Speaking yesterday, Dr Tulia said more than 108 traditional dance troupes will contest for honors at the three-day contest. According to Dr Tulia the groups are from different parts of the country and they expect to see a thrilling event compared to the past events. “The first edition of the festival saw only 63 traditional dance troupes from only two regions, while the following year (2017)89 groups from 17 regions registered.

This year there are more groups that have confirmed participation already,” said Dr Tulia.

She added: We expect to award winners with motorcycles , there will be also cash prizes and scholarship at the Bagamoyo College of Arts (Tasuba). Our aim is to promote our culture beyond our boarders as well as tourism, we expect to see people from outside the country coming to attend the festival.

According to Dr Tulia, they will use Cultural Officers in all regions to select the traditional groups that will feature in the festival.

Last year Bujola a group from Mwanza emerged winners and were offered an opportunity to tour India.

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Friday, July 13, 2018

Discop unlocking Africa’s content

 

Dar es Salaam. The 21st edition of the Zanzibar International Film Festival kicked off in Zanzibar last weekend and Stone Town has been a busy place as filmmakers cross each other’s paths in Stone Town.

Organised under the theme Speak Up Be heard, the festival has attracted guests from across the world including actor Jacky Ido.

Plenty has been on offer at both the amphitheatre and other viewing centres across Zanzibar where over 150 films have been on offer with more yet to come especially the South African Day.

But while the films have been hilarious with an illustrious guest list gracing the festival, the launch of Discop Zanzibar, a new initiative designed toward boosting the fast-growing content business in Africa was one of the highlights of the week.

The launch of the Zanzibar edition follows a successful launch of Discop markets in Johannesburg (South Africa), Abidjan (Ivory Coast), and Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt.

In a market that has in the recent past been plagued with several issues from distribution to sales, Discop Zanzibar provides a unique opportunity of unlocking African content market, more especially Eastern Africa.

Exhibitors have come from Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, South Africa and many other African countries to showcase and sell their content to the yawning world of entertainment.

According to organisers, Discop Zanzibar, which is the only content market in Eastern Africa, provides content makers with a platform to market their products closer to home. The exhibition space has focused on developing the regional industry, producer and delegate badge options are priced to make them as accessible as possible.

“All delegates once registered, they are matched with relevant industry players depending on their specific business needs and goals,” Lara Preston told the Beat in an earlier interview.

Speaking at the opening of Discop this week, the ZIFF chairman Mahmoud Thabit Kombo said it was a historic event given the kind of history that ZIFF has had in the past two decades. “For the past 21 years ZIFF has celebrated films and cultures of the dhow countries. It has also rightfully taken its place as a leading voice in promoting Kiswahili through film. With over 300 million Swahili speakers in Africa, the market for locally produced content is a massive one just waiting to be serviced,” he says.

According to him this is a market that cannot be ignored anymore and the coming of Discop only underscores how the industry has become a money spinner.

“The numbers from the industry speaks for its self and there are only a few organisations such as Discop that can see this potential and the value that this market presents,” he says.

He adds: In Nigeria Nollywood film productions generate between $500 million and $800 million annually, employing 300,000 people directly and more than a million indirectly.

According to a Price Water Coopers’ report which was released last year the Kenyan entertainment and media market was worth some $1 billion in 2016 and is set to hit the $ 3 billion mark by 2020. The same report predicts that Tanzania’s pay TV subscription will nearly double by 2021 grossing a total of $271 million.

Marc Berry from Los Angeles California is Discop’s exhibitor relations manager is also at the exhibition and according to him they are looking forward to accelerating production and marketing in Africa and the Middle East.

Speaking to The Beat Marc Berry said Africa in recent years has curved itself as one of the lucrative content market with almost 70 countries.

“With a growing middle class population there are all the indicators that point towards a brighter future especially in video entertainment which has been aided with the availability of the internet,” says Berry.

He adds: Within the next five years, the Sub-Saharan African marketplace is expected to grow by 35 per cent and become the fastest-growing world region for entertainment content business.

According to him that growth “will be driven by original, multi-platform entertainment content produced in Africa, reinforced trade between sub-Saharan African countries, and intra-regional co-production initiatives.

“People from Tanzania are not going to go to Sweden to sell their content; they’re going to stay in Africa because that’s where their prime market is, “he says.

The platform is also hosting the Next Gen which is aimed at a fast-rising breed of talented, multicultural, independent minded, world-trotting film, television, digital producers and programmers operating in Africa.

The Next Gen program is tailored to help them broaden their expertise, get new projects off the ground, pitch innovative ideas, find new concepts and distribution, and rub shoulders with key industry players, influencers and trendsetters.

Nextgen program include panels on improving the performance and efficiencies of film commissions, the importance of Swahili content, and animation and VR amongst other topics. The recently launched Discore program with a focus on the importance of music and synch deals within the content space. A focus on East African music and composers will see the inclusion of the East African music industry. But as organiser speak so highly about the potential that the exhibition has on turning the industry’s fortunes, concern has been raised on the number of Tanzanian content producers at the event. According to the outgoing ZIFF chairman Mahmoud Kombo, Tanzanian content producers cannot let this kind of opportunity slip through their fingers and it would be a big mistake for them to do so.

“Discop has its headquarters in Los Angeles and they have been instrumental in several markets before such as Hollywood and Bollywood that is why I can’t understand why there are very few local content producers here,” he says.

The no show has not been limited to Discop alone, the number of local filmmakers and actors who have turned up is quite low despite the potential that the festival has given its 21-year-track record.

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Friday, July 6, 2018

Ramsey speaks about his rise in nollywood

 

In 1990, Ramsey Nouah kicked off his acting career. He starred as “Jeff Akin-Thomas” in classic TV series, “Fortunes” which aired between 1993 and 1994.

It’s 2018 and Nouah boasts a career that spans decades, with a host of awards and nominations including an Africa Movie Academy Award win, and an Africa Magic Viewers Choice Award nomination.

“I was just passionate. I didn’t realize that I was going to be this famous or this rich. Hallelujah somebody,” Nouah jokes. “That’s why it’s so hard for me to sometimes handle the fame. Usually, I just want to run away.”

Critical acclaim and AMVCA nominations (76, The Figurine) box-office record (30 Days in Atlanta), classics (Dangerous Twins, Power of Love, Silent Night), Nouah has, over the years, remained a relevant actor in the Nigerian film industry.

Nouah attributes his relevance to going with the tide, flowing with the demography of the generation that has been from his time till now, and being selective about the movie roles he went for. Before accepting any role, he considers certain factors: the story, the character and the technical quality of the film. “Then after that, we can start discussing fees, backings and all of that,” he says.”

In 2004, Nouah, alongside seven other actors - Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Richard Mofe Damijo, Genevieve Nnaji, Emeka Ike, Nkem Owoh, Stella Damasus and Jim Iyke - were banned by movie marketers.

According to Nouah, the DVD market was beginning to think that they owned it [all] and could decide to turn someone’s life around, so they [actors and filmmakers] delved into the cinema business, which he described as an alternative market.

“Now the DVD market is almost dead and gone. There’s so much piracy going on there. It’s not a regulated market so even if you make your big movies and you want to take it to DVD, it’s selling little or nothing.”

But, not all films should make it to the cinema. Just like his colleague, Rita Dominic, who recently came under attack for criticizing certain cinema films, Nouah doesn’t think every film should make it to the cinema. “I don’t know why she is getting all the backlash. Now, we are thinking about upgrading Nollywood, we are thinking about making it better, [then] why are we encouraging negative forces dragging it back down?”

Nouah believes that the bad films that make it to the cinema affect the good ones. He says that in an era where there’s YouTube, there’s no excuse to not go through the proper way of filmmaking, cinematography and storytelling.

Influence of Hollywood on career

Nouah remembers watching Hollywood while growing up. A learning curve for him, he cites action heroes such as Sylvester Stallon and Arnold Schwarzenegger as an influence. If he is given a chance, he would love to collaborate with Al Pacino, an actor he describes as “spontaneous.”

He says that with “Godfather,” “Scarface” and “Scent of a Woman,” Al Pacino portrays three distinct characters to show his ‘versatility’ as an actor - something he considers important as an actor.

He loved their work, and when Nollywood started making movies, he hoped that the industry would one day, be as good as Hollywood. Not just in acting, but also with the production quality.

There was no YouTube in the 90s, so Nouah sought out write-ups that would help him understudy how best to upgrade the Nigerian film industry. “So I am one of those people that you could say flew the New Nollywood flag. You know like, ‘let’s do it right, let’s get better,’ ‘let’s move the industry forward.’

Movies he would love to wipe off his IMDB

Just like several other actors, Ramsey Nouah has featured in movies he isn’t proud of. But he wouldn’t mention any titles, he thinks it would hurt the producer if he did.

Most times, he accepts a “bad” role based on sentiments. His friends come up to him and say they want to make a film and they need his help. So he helps.

“We learnt and got burnt in the process. Now I don’t allow friendship and sentiments in work anymore. Because my face is out there and it’s just going to mess up all the stuff I have built all these years.”

So these days, when they come and say ‘ah Ramsey, just do it for us,’ he refers them to his manager.

“It takes away the sentiments and emotional blackmails.”

Off screen, Nouah possesses a persona that is considered private and charismatic. On social media, he is active with over 780 thousand followers on Instagram, yet, for most part of his career, Nouah has successfully kept his private life private.

Article was first published

in Pulse

In his opinion, he has given all his life to TV and movies and deserves to keep a part of his life private.

Also, the social media world just feels unreal to him: he can’t reach it, he can’t feel it, he can’t touch it. “I I’m more of the real world. I’m more of me and you, the physical .

He doesn’t want to be there, but he doesn’t think he has a choice. So he still finds a way to make sure he ‘touches base and reach out to certain people.”

The social media world is ever buzzing with controversial topics. Recently, it was a conversation about Yahoo boys. Several celebrities joined the conversation, but not Nouah. He rarely shares his opinions online.

According to Nouah, issues such as fraud should be dealt with in a comprehensive manner that takes a lot of things into consideration.

“So if I wanna talk about issues like this, I want to tackle it from the roots and not just tackle it from the stem. If you want us to find ways around it then let us look it from the roots, take it out from there then we can work it out to the stem.”

Nouah is of the opinion that, apart from sharing views online, Nigerians should come together to look for ways to tackle the situation.

Style inspiration

Nouah describes his style as simple and sophisticated. He believes one could be sophisticated and simple at the same time.

He doesn’t want to be all in the place. He loves fluidity and doesn’t love to be locked down in so many costume.

“I don’t like to come out looking like a mannequin. I like a situation when I talk, I still have the freedom of movement and gesture, and all of that.”

“I flow all ways. I could do hip hop, but not saggy pants. Moses Inwang does saggy pants,” he jokes about the director of his latest film, “Crazy People.”

In an industry where becoming an A-List actor is a difficult task, Nouah believes there’s no structure to becoming a Genevieve Nnaij, Rita DominiC or RMD.

“Most of all these people that were mentioned weren’t concerned about the money behind it or the fame. They were just concerned about the work and the art.”

When they started, they loved the art and gave it everything they had, irrespective of the money.

For 28 years, Nouah has steadily made an indelible mark on Nollywood by carving out a great career for himself in front of the camera, which provides him all the experience to cement his legacy with a stint behind it.

This article was originally published in Pulse

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Friday, July 6, 2018

Expectations high as ZIFF 2018 kicks off

 

It is around that time again when the world of cinema descends on Zanzibar for the annual Zanzibar International Film Festival at the Ngome Kongwe Amphitheatre in Stone Town.

The mood in the legendary Stone Town can be described as expectant and as revellers arrive, taxi drivers at the port very keen to be of help to first timers.

At the Ngome Kongwe’s, where the opening ceremony is set to take place, organisers were by last night making last minute touches to little details such as accreditation and ticketing.

Also famed as ‘the festival of festivals’, it will be graced by a number of impressive activities including music performances with celebrities, filmmakers, and actors

Opening film

Running under the theme ‘Speak Up Be Heard’ the festival kicks off for the second time with a local film Bashasha.

Every year the Zanzibar International Film Festival bestows the honour of the Opening Night film on a new and noteworthy African film, like many other films before, Bahasha is set for its World Premiere at on this stage.

The film was the directed by Jordan Riber and featured some of Tanzania’s most talented actors including Ayoub Bombwe, Godliver Gordian, Omary Mrisho and Catherine Credo. “I am very excited and honored that Bahasha has been selected as the opening film for one of Africa’s most important film festivals. I am proud to be a part of the Tanzanian film industry at such an exciting time. The talent of Tanzanian actors and film crew has been so well showcased over the last few years, and I see a bright future in filmmaking for Tanzania.

Ayoub, Godliver, Catherine and Omary are all world-class actors and their work in Bahasha is something that will no doubt make Tanzania proud.”

Bahasha is the story of an elected public official who betrays his family, friends and community when he takes an easy bribe. He learns the hard way and must now find the road to redemption.

Music and performing arts

Despite having come under criticism for musical performances ZIFF has of the years modeled itself as a feast of films, exhibitions – and also music!

In partnership with Trace Music, this year ZIFF celebrates East Africa’s music with an array of local artistes on stage every night after the viewing of films.

Building on the success of the 2017 edition of the East African Music Video that was ultimately taken home by Eddy Kenzo of Uganda, the 2018 edition of the awards has heated up –with the competition winner to be announced at ZIFF on July 14th.

A short list of 20 nominees is listed below, which will be narrowed down to three before the ultimate winner is announced at ZIFF on the Awards Night, July 14th 2018.

To celebrate these awards and the best in East African music talent, Trace Mziki and ZIFF, in partnership with Kilimanjaro and Jack Daniels have come up with a hot line-up of live music and performances.

The exciting line-up includes Darasa Classic - a leading Hip Hop artiste in TZ and indeed East Africa, who will be launching two new studio tracks, performing them for the first time at ZIFF. This promises to be a powerful and emotional performance as the track pays tribute to his daughter.

Also in the line-up of events is East Africa’s King Empire record label that will field their wide array of artists including Aslay, Shetta, Rubi, and the Maffick .

The nine-day event will also be graced by East Africa’s finest decks man DJ Ricky Mfalme who will be playing each night to support the main acts from the opening to closing of ZIFF supported by Zanzibar’s eclectic DJ Cartel.

Trace Mziki and ZIFF will also host the African premiere of the Broadway show – direct from New York. This will be a first in Zanzibar and the region.

South Africa Day

The festival this year has dedicated a special day for South African films which according to organisers will be a tribute to Winnie Mandela.

The South African High Commissioner to Tanzania, Thami Mseleku, will be in attendance along with other dignitaries from the Zanzibar government and has this to say of the event.

“The South African government is in full support of the screening of “Winnie” at ZIFF 2018. We looking forward to having more South African film in Zanzibar to create a platform for education, dialogue, and discussion,” he says

He adds: We also would like to extend an invitation to Zanzibar to attend our Durban Film Festival in an effort to exchange ideas and depict our shared liberation history. It is the pleasure of the South Africa High Commission to be part of this cultural exchange and we commend your continued drive to have an avenue to tell our African stories in Film. ZIFF can count on our support in future festival dates.

According to festival director Fabrizio Colombo the day offers an insight in liberation struggle of the South African people with the screening of Winnie and Laugh out Loud with

“ZIFF has always celebrated and given importance to liberation movements, and the struggle for freedom that South Africa has embodied through historical figures like Nelson and Winnie Mandela. ZIFF 2018’s theme about speaking out for truth, freedom, and justice finds in the South Africa Day its best fulfilment and a wonderful way to close the 2018 edition of the Festival,” he says.

The festival is ranked among the world’s top 100 film festivals and is an annual gathering for film industry stakeholders, filmmakers and film students, with ZIFF being considered a key launching pad for East and Central African films.

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Friday, July 6, 2018

Ugandan actress raising eyebrows with new film 'Kyenvu'

 

By Angela Ruhinda

Every year, Zanzibar becomes more than just a serene island for the fatigued, it becomes a networking hot spot for film makers from all over the world.

This weekend for the 21st consecutive year, film makers and enthusiasts will converge at Stone Town for the annual Zanzibar International Film Festival. For the next 10 days film stakeholders will engage in workshops, network and screen their pieces of local and international work for a panel of judges and diverse audiences.

Kemiyondo Coutinho is going to be part of those in attendance where her film ‘Kyenvu’ will be at ZIFF and she will be flying down from Los Angeles to see the audience’s reaction in person. ‘Kyenvu’ is a social commentary on Uganda’s mini-skirt ban nestled within an East African love story.

Is this the first time Kyenvu screens in East Africa?

This is the African premiere outside of the private screening it had in Uganda. I am elated, excited, but with that, comes nerves. Screening for an audience closer to home presents the unique opportunity for your work to be understood on a deeper level, or at least you hope.

With my experience in touring one-woman shows both back home and in the US, there was a deeper reaction to the work at home because people could immediately identify with every single character presented.

The humor lands easier because so much of humor is cultural but also the issues hit harder. I look forward to hearing what an African audience takes from this work. Of course there will always be concerns - will they think I represented us right? Will they see its intended purpose?

You’ve screened in a few cities in the U.S already. How has the reception been thus far?

Amazing. I have truly had a blessed experiences. When it was first screened at The Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles, it won the grand jury award. I don’t take that for granted because it is truly a blessing and I feel so grateful. What always surprises me and also disheartens me is how relevant the themes are cross-culturally. Sexual harassment is not an African issue, it is a global issue and whilst I am glad the audience here can identify so strongly, it does make me sad for the general state of affairs in the world.

It would be very interesting to see how Ugandans react to the film. Do you have any concerns about that?

I don’t have concerns per se. I always present my truth the closest way I know how and ultimately that’s all I can do.

How it is received is not up to me, I just hope that a conversation can be had about it. I recently ran into a Ugandan journalist who did not agree with the film’s approach. What upset me wasn’t that she did not agree with the approach but rather that she left out all my responses to her questions which presented my case. I do not aim to be liked or for my work to be liked, I only aim for it to be understood. My concerns are founded on that.

What inspired Kyenvu?

The Anti Pornography Act was set in Uganda in 2014. Parliament passed it into law, which blamed pornography for the sexual crimes committed against women and children.

The Law, at its introductory stage had a clause prohibiting women from wearing the mini skirt, hence the media label “Mini skirt bill.” However, when the final bill was passed, it held no clause on the banning of the mini skirt. The media, who had picked the nickname, failed to inform the public that that particular clause was struck out. The ‘miniskirt ban’ was being loosely interpreted by mobs as an excuse to target and strip women thought to be improperly dressed.

What is your fascination with the color and why do you feel it’s important to incorporate into your work?

I just love yellow. It demands to be seen. Not everyone can pull it off. It is the colour of the sun and light and just barges into a gloomy day and asks you to be joyful. I incorporated it into my work because I try to leave traces of myself in my work. There are clues about who I am in all my writing.

I like writing to feel personal. At the end of the film there is a revelation about needing a garment to stay yellow. The character is asking for her world to stay joyful and bright and full of light.

Was it important to you to find Ugandans to be a part of the film in every way?

I wanted to change the narrative that Ugandan films that do well internationally required “outside filmmakers.” I started hearing conversations around film that would say “Its so professional, they flew in so and so” and that bothered me. I knew we had the talent and I knew I just had to look.

I wanted the film to become a business card for all the people involved. For a product to come out of Uganda that we could say “see, we can do it!”

In your opinion, what does it mean to be an African feminist in 2018?

My idea of feminism is constantly evolving because the world is evolving and who I am as a woman is evolving. I think there is no term or one size fits all version of feminism. I believe that we need to accept people in their journeys of feminism, where ever they are and be accepting of their interpretation of it. I personally take a little bit of this and a little bit of that and I do my very best to make sure my work and life allows for women’s voices to be heard. This is what i am passionate about. That we have equal opportunities and the only way that will happen is if we start listening to women.

What other projects are you working on?

I just premiered my short film ‘Green’ that was a part of the Kevin Hart filmmaking fellowship with his Laugh Out Loud Network. It premiered at the American Black Film

Festival and was truly an amazing experience. I am writing a satire horror film about colonization called ‘The Whites’ which I hope to shoot by next year. Yes, I am sticking to this colour theme!

What advice would you give to fellow up and coming African film makers and actors?

The same advice Ava (Duvernay, ‘Selma’, ‘A Wrinkle In Time’) gave me when I asked her for advice at a Q&A - just do it! She kept quiet after that and let me sit with that. I started writing ‘Kyenvu’ the day after that. Just do it.

‘Kyenvu’ will be screening at the Maru Maru hotel on July 14 at 10.25 a.m. I encourage all of you to be there to witness greatness in the making.

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Friday, July 6, 2018

Vanessa and Jux kick off with a bang

 

Dar es Salaam. Bongo Flava artistes, Vanessa Mdee and Jux over the weekend took Mwanza revellers by storm as they launched the “In love and Money” tour. The show which was held at Rocky City Mall was attended by an estimated audience of around 5000 fans from Lake Zone region.

Vanessa and Jux couple took revellers on music journey as they sang their duet titled ‘Juu’ throwing fans into frenzy.

The show also was spiced by many up and coming Bongo Flava artistes with hip hop artist, Stamina making a surprise appearance to join Jux and Vanessa in the show.

Stamina was not on the time table, but the Morogoro based artist says he decided to join them in recognition of Vanessa and Jux contribution to the music industry in Tanzania.

The two will tomorrow perform in Mtwara before heading to Dodoma and Arusha regions in the same tour on July 14 and 21 respectively.

The final tour will be held in Dar es Salaam on July 28 at a venue yet to be named.

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Friday, July 6, 2018

T-Junction hoists TZ flag at AMVCA nominations

 

It was a star studded event this weekend as Africa’s top film makers, actors and actresses crossed fingers and toes in the hopes of being nominated for the prestigious AMVCAs 2018.

The usual suspects dominate the nomination list with Nigeria and Ghana leading the pack of nominees of the awards that are set to be held on September 1 in Lagos Nigeria.

In East Africa Kenya led the nominations with some 15 nominations whereas Uganda got 9 nods in the ever expanding category list.

It was however heartbreak for Tanzania with only two nominations in the Best Cinematographer in T-junction as the same film also got the jury’s nod in the Best Local Language film- Swahili.

Speaking to The Beat after the nominations, Amil Issa Shivji from Kijiweni production said it was a blessing to see this film go places.

The film last year won multiple awards at the Zanzibar International Film Festival which kicks off this weekend at the Ngome Kongwe Amphitheatre.

The nominations comes after anxious moments after the awards missed its traditional timeline which usually is around march with speculation rife that the awards would not take place.

It is still not clear why Tanzanian films made such a poor display even in categories where they were supposed to dominate.

The last time Tanzania won something at the awards was in 2016 when Lulu and Single Mtambalike emerged winners.

The awards which celebrate African film makers was first held in 2013 bringing together the cream of African celebrities in the affluent Victoria Islands in Lagos.

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Friday, June 29, 2018

Vanessa and Jux blend Money with Love

 

By Paul Owere

Dar es Salaam. They say money can’t buy us love for love is like religion, it cannot be bought nor negotiated, however there is confirmation that the two can mix.

Vanessa Mdee and her beau this weekend start their music tour of Tanzania which will take them to five regional towns and cities with the first gig taking place in Mwanza.

Their fans love seeing them together, to most of them the rumour that the two had separated sometime last year was a huge disappointment and so it was a good news to the fans when the couple got back together.

The tour christened ‘In Love and Money’ which comes quite on the heels of the release of Money Mondays album takes the celebrity couple to heights that many Bongo Flava artistes can only dream about.

The tour comes at a time when there are very few live gigs taking place in the country despite having high profile artistes that continue to rock the continent.

The concerts are set to bring the two sets of fans together given the fact that they enjoy a huge following individually across the country and beyond.

So far no details have been let out on the production team but behind the scenes there is a clear confirmation that everything is going according to the laid down plan.

According to Vanessa this is going to be their litmus test, one they have to pass with flying colours given the arrangement and preparations that they have put into the organisation.

“We shall be performing together, the main objective of this tour is to connect with our fans who are spread across the country with performances that will leave them with great memories for years to come,” says the self styled Cash Madame.

Jux will use the opportunity to familiarize his fans with new songs from his upcoming debut album ‘The Love album’.

The two have previously worked on a single titled ‘Juu’ which gained massive airplay both on local radio stations and outside East Africa.

Juu which is a feel good love song about riding with your partner to the top; which has been the case for these lovebirds both being forces in their own right.

They won’t be all on their own though with Mimi Mars and Brian Simba both signed on Vanessa’s label getting on the bus for this maiden tour. Others include Weusi as well as artistes from the Lake Zone.

Unlike Jux who started off as a musician almost 13 years ago, Vanessa’s meteoric rise from a radio presenter and MTV VJ is one that has left many in awe.

First introduced to the Tanzanian fan base with a collaboration with Ommy Dimpoz ‘Me and U’ which went on to win the Song of The Year in 2013 KTMA, Vanessa has become one of Tanzania biggest musical stars both locally and across Africa.

Her first solo project ‘Closer’, was testimony that a new songstress has been born with over 30000 downloads in the first week after its release a feat that not many Tanzanian artistes had achieved at that time.

The song also managed to remain on the charts for over 13 weeks, becoming a breath of fresh air in a male dominated industry.

In June 2014 she released her third single “Hawajui” was produced by Nahreel rocking the charts and the radio/TV air waves.

In the same year she joined forces with Barnaba Elias to release their up tempo Afro Pop duet ‘Siri’ which became an instant sensation across East Africa.

On 26 March 2015, Vanessa Mdee released her fifth single Nobody But Me featuring South African rapper KO toping both TV and radio on Africa 10 on Trace Urban, Urban Hit 30 (Trace Nigeria), Africa Top 10 on The Beat 99.9 FM (Nigeria), Top 10 Africa on Sound City TV (Nigeria), Jam Top 5 on Radio City FM (Uganda), Africa Boom Boxx on YFM (South Africa), DNA Top 5 on BBC 1xtra (UK).

According to her most of her collaborations are very organic for in most cases works with like minds on her projects.

“I love to work with people who flow with me from the idea stage all the way to the development of the song,” she told the Beat in a recent interview.

Her participation in Coke studio for two consecutive seasons where she paired with some of Africa’s greatest artistes was further testimony that she had grown into a continental power.

This was followed by debut acting role on MTV Shuga season 5 as part of the leading cast alongside Nick Mutuma Thuso Mbedu, Mohau Mokoatle Cele, Jezriel Skei, Emmanuel Ifeanyi and Adesua Etomi was another success story.

Vanessa has won several awards domestically and released her debut album dubbed ‘Money Mondays’ on 15th January 2018 at a time when many artistes saw it as a risk to undertake such projects.

“Money Mondays is all about evolution of self, the betterment of self as you know I have come from being a radio personality to a singer to an actress. It is a testimony that you can always start again,” she says.

Jux on the other hand rose to the limelight with his first solo track ‘Nimedata’ which surprisingly did better than expected introducing him to the game where he has managed to dominate the RnB scene in Tanzania by dropping hit after hit.

Over the years Jux has not only established himself as an RnB crooner but also a style Icon in the music industry with his fine sense of fashion and swag.

Currently he is the CEO and Creative Director of East Africa’s most popular independently owned clothing brand ‘African Boy‘.

As the two love birds set off for a conquest, they will have so much to prove to so many, first that love and work can mix to achieve such desirable results, secondly, they are probably what Tanzania has been waiting for.

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Friday, June 29, 2018

Joe Jackson, the iron-willed music patriarch, dies at 89

 

New york. Joe Jackson, the patriarch of music superstars whose iron-fisted guidance both shaped his children’s success and traumatised them, died Wednesday, family members said. He was 89.

Jackson whose most famous child, King of Pop Michael Jackson, died almost nine years to the day before him — had been ailing from cancer.

He kept active well into his 80s but suffered a series of strokes including in 2015 when he travelled to Brazil for a birthday gala in his honour.

Entertainment sites including TMZ said Jackson died with family around him in Los Angeles. Family members later confirmed his passing on social media.

Representatives did not respond to requests for details.

La Toya Jackson, one of his 11 children and also a pop singer, mourned her father and said she was “extremely appreciative” of him.

“I will always love you! You gave us strength, you made us one of the most famous families in the world,” she wrote on Twitter as she posted a segment on Oprah Winfrey’s television network in which she is having lunch with her father.

Grandson Randy Jackson Jr tweeted, “RIP to the king that made everything possible!!! I love you grandpa.”

Family representatives did not return requests for detail on his death.

Sunset

But Jackson hinted at his impending death in a tweet Monday: “I have seen more sunsets than I have left to see. The sun rises when the time comes and whether you like it or not the sun sets when the time comes.”

One of the most famous and consequential father figures in musical history, the steel plant worker from Gary, Indiana, recognised a blooming musical talent in his children and assembled them into The Jackson 5, one of the first African American acts to win major success among white audiences.

The group, with its danceable Motown R&B, hit number one with four songs on the Billboard Hot 100. Eleven-year-old Michael Jackson became the youngest singer ever to top the benchmark US singles chart as the lead vocalist on 1969’s “I Want You Back.”

But Michael Jackson later revealed that he grew up in terror of his father, who would regularly lash him with a belt. In a widely watched 1993 interview with Oprah Winfrey, then mega-star Michael broke down in tears as he discussed his father’s beatings, and he later excluded him from his will.

Janet Jackson, Joe’s youngest child and the most famous after Michael, has said that her father insisted that she address him as Joseph. She suffered low self-esteem as she watched how other fathers would show affection to their children.

Joe Jackson’s public image further eroded after the death of Michael, who suffered from intense anxiety and depression, when his father seized the media spotlight to promote his own record label project.

‘I’m glad i was tough’

In his own interview with daytime talk queen Winfrey in 2010, Joe Jackson acknowledged that he physically disciplined his children but said it was for their own good.

“It kept them out of jail and kept them right,” Jackson said.

In a 2013 interview with CNN, he said: “I’m glad I was tough, because look what I came out with. I came out with some kids that everybody loved all over the world. And they treated everybody right.”

But he began to let off long-absent emotion in his twilight years. When he was hospitalised, he wrote on his website that Janet was his only child to see him and voiced pride in her achievements — a hint of warmth that she had longed for.

His wife Katherine, who served as a much-needed nurturing figure to the family’s 10 children, explained her husband by saying that beating children was commonplace for African American fathers of his age and background.

Katherine, to whom Michael and Janet dedicated their most celebrated albums, survives her husband of 68 turbulent years during which Katherine filed for divorce but changed her mind.

Joe also had a daughter, Joh’Vonnie, with a long-time mistress. Joe moved in the 1980s to Las Vegas while still married to Katherine, who lived in Los Angeles.

Their other children included Jermaine and La Toya Jackson, who both found success in their solo music careers.

A broken guitar string

The grandson of a slave, Joe Jackson was born in rural Arkansas to a similarly merciless father. After his parents’ divorce he moved first with his father to Oakland, California, and then joined his mother as a teenager in the Chicago area, making him one of millions of African Americans to leave the South for northern cities in the Great Migration.

Putting aside his ambitions to become a boxer, Joe Jackson found work as a crane operator at the US Steel plant in Gary, Indiana, providing a stable home life for his young family. According to family lore, Jackson’s sons would sneak into his closet when Joe Jackson was working and bring out his guitar. Angered one day when he noticed a broken string, Joe demanded that Tito, his third child, prove that he could play.

“And when I started playing, his mouth flew open! He gave me the guitar and told me to learn every song I heard on the radio,” Tito Jackson told blogger Malcolm Wyatt in 2017.

“So I started learning The Temptations and all that, playing songs like ‘My Girl,’ with Jackie, Jermaine and myself singing, starting to work out parts for these songs. It just grew into a group ... and the rest is history!” he said.

Joe Jackson would manage all recordings of The Jackson 5 on Motown Records and moved the family to California. Michael Jackson eventually broke out on his own with his 1975 album “Off the Wall” after being signed to Epic Records.

The patriarch later managed the early career of Janet. But even as the father of two of the top-selling artists in history, his life did not end in luxury and he was cut out of Michael Jackson’s estate.

By 2012, the once-powerful manager was seen selling Jackson-branded perfume at a cart in a humdrum Las Vegas shopping mall — and entered a legal feud as he did not have rights to the Michael Jackson name. AFP

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Friday, June 29, 2018

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Friday, June 29, 2018

Rafiki director now part of academy

 

The director of Kenyan-mad gay film ‘Rafiki’ Wanuri Kahiu has become the only Kenyan to be named a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science.

The Academy announced a record-breaking 928 new members in an increased push for diversity.

The Academy is known for its annual Academy Awards, officially known as “The Oscars”. Wanuri joins other bigwig international industry players including Daniel Kaluuya, Tiffany Haddish, Amy Schumer, Emilia Clarke, Andre Holland and Trevante Rhodes. Ms Wanuri made headlines after her film was banned locally by the Kenya Film Classification Board.

KFCB chief executive Ezekiel Mutua argued that the film sought to “normalise homosexuality in Kenya” and condemned it for showing “the resilience of the youngsters involved in lesbianism.”

The film however premiered at the prestigious Cannes film festival in France.

where the crew accompanied by Ms Wanuri received a standing ovation.

‘Rafiki’ — meaning “friend” in Swahili — is adapted from a prize-winning short story called ‘Jambula Tree’ by Ugandan writer Monica Arac de Nyeko.

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Friday, June 29, 2018

Zari takes her White Party to Nairobi

 

Zari has hosted several White Parties in the past but most have been in her native Uganda save for the one she hosted in Tanzania some three years ago.

Now for the first time Zari is going to Kenya for the famous event which draws hundreds of her ever expanding fan base.

The Ugandan socialite is set to host the “Zari All White Party” at Club Moven Pick in Nairobi, Kenya on August 4, 2018.

The details about the upcoming event have been spilled by Diamond Platinumz’s official DJ Romy Jones on a post on Instagram.

Zari was in Kenya last month where she hosted the “Colour Purple Party”, a women empowerment and cancer awareness event.

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Friday, June 29, 2018

Lupita named in Hollywood’s Walk of fame 2019

 

Oscar award winning actress Lupita Nyong’o has been named among Hollywood 2019 Walk of Fame honorees. Lupita is among the 28 honorees list that has only three black actors.

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce announced the Walk of Fame Class of 2019 on Monday and the Black Panther star was among those selected in the film category.

Lupita, who bagged an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 2012 for her role in the movie 12 Years A Slave, is listed among those to be honored in the film category alongside Alan Arkin, Kristen Bell, Daniel Craig, Robert De Niro, Guillermo del Toro, Anne Hathaway, Tyler Perry and Gena Rowlands.

In the TV category, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Candice Bergen, Guy Fieri, Terrence Howard, Stacy Keach, Sid and Marty Krofft, Lucy Liu, Mandy Moore, Dianne Wiest, and Julia Child (posthumously) will receive stars along Hollywood Blvd.

Lupita’s nomination has been met with mixed reactions with some feeling like it was too soon for her to receive a Walk of Fame star considering that other actresses who have been in the industry longer before than her are yet to be honored.

However, during the release of the list, chairman of the Walk of Fame Selection Committee Vin Di Bona said:

“The Committee always tries to select a group of talented honorees that appeal in various genres of the entertainment world.”

“I feel the Committee has outdone themselves and I know the fans, tourists and the Hollywood community will be pleased with our selections. We are excited to see each and every honoree’s face as they unveil that majestic star on Hollywood’s most famous walkway.” he added.

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Friday, June 29, 2018

Juliana to release new album

 

Ugandan singer Juliana Kanyomozi has something that she has been working on and is ready to share with the world.

And now it seems the Social Media tax won’t be the only thing that Ugandans will be talking about when July comes but also the new Juliana album.

According to the songstress, the album dubbed “Bits and Pieces” will be released on July 2, 2018. Juliana has described the album as very personal, with each song revealing a different layer of her.

The “Woman” hitmaker has been intensely promoting her latest effort, which will be the follow-up to her 2017 album “I am still here,” on her social media pages using the hashtag #BitsAndPiecesTheAlbum.

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Friday, June 22, 2018

Can Wasafi festival be a game changer?

 

By Paul Owere

Dar es Salaam. The last time Diamond performed in Tanzania in a fully fledged concert was some 18 months ago and that was at the WCB Beach Party at Jangwani Sea Breeze.

It was a spectacle of its own, and since then so much has happened in the industry but above all it is the opening of the Wasafi TV which seems to have hit the headlines louder than anyone had ever hoped.

Even with his long absence he remains a crowd favourite at least as confirmed by his cameo appearance at the Davido show over the weekend with his songs such as African Beauty and Kwangwaru doing well.

You can’t take anything away from self styled workaholic, for the last time I checked he remains the only artiste in this region to own a media house and soon, a reality TV show is set to follow before the radio is turned on.

This week he announced that they are embarking on a new journey which includes festival which they have christened the Wasafi Festival which is more of a replica of the Fiesta which has been around for almost two decades now.

All has not been well for sometime now between the WCB entity and some of the people who mentored them, though Diamond continues to remain coy on the fall out, sources say the rift between them there is an air of a vendetta. The stakes have changed the WCB team and Diamond’s arrival at a news conference in Dar es Salaam was quite eye-catching as they replicated the ‘Kim Jong Un’ moment with body guards walking on foot.

It is quite difficult to tell whether the WCB CEO faces such a security threat to necessitate such protection from the men in black suits or it is the usual glamour that accompanies showbiz. We should leave that to him and his team to think about it for now.

The news conference was to announce the Wasafi TV and StarTimes partnership but then it veered off to none issues, as he laboured at length to explain why he was at the Davido show over the weekend.

The Wasafi festival as Diamond and his WCB crew promise is set to be a game changer in the organisation of festivals in the country, as it promises to pay artistes handsomely.

The model of the festival’s organisation is still not known but many suspect that it is going to be a replica of what we have seen in the past with Fiesta.

It therefore remains interesting to see the kind of model that Wasafi festival is going to roll out given the high publicity that they have already put up.

But even then the power brokers within the WCB entity promise that it is going to be something that the industry hasn’t seen in a long while with several international artistes lined up .

In the absence of an alternative festival that tours the country maybe this is what many local artistes have been waiting for given the fact that not so many can afford to organise their own local tours.

These will be exciting times especially with Diamond’s pledge to work with all artistes irrespective of their affiliation.

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Friday, June 22, 2018

Exciting times as ZIFF hosts Discop Zanzibar

 

By Salome Gregory

The way film is marketed across the world has in the past decade changed to incorporate some of the modern elements in the industry.

This year for the first time the East African region through the 21st edition of Zanzibar international Film festival get a taste of this medium.

Discop Zanzibar takes place in partnership with the Zanzibar International Film Festival that will run from July 7.

The festival takes a giant step in cinematic world under the theme ‘Speak up and Be Heard’ where all the industry of Cinema, TV and digital communication will gather transforming ZIFF in a great platform to boost East Africa’s film industry.

This development according to organisers comes with a unique opportunity to African cinema in general to be seen and heard.

Discop a TV and Film market with events in Johannesburg, Abidjan and Dubai will focus on film as well as announcing two new categories of awards from ZIFF namely Best TV Series and Best Web Series, reflecting the ever-increasing merging of content categories.

Speaking to The Beat, ZIFF’s special projects co-ordinator Lara Preston says Discop Zanzibar will include a market / exhibition space for key players in the East African film industry, as well as various options for independent producers and smaller companies.

She says, the exhibition space will be focused on developing the regional industry, producer and delegate badge options will be priced to make them as accessible as possible.

“All delegates will from the meeting service that is at the heart of the Discop markets strategy. Once registered, delegates will be matched with relevant industry players depending on their specific business needs and goals,” she says.

Discop Zanzibar will also host a NextGen program of panel discussions and Master Class sessions. In partnership with ZIFF, this programme will be expanded and ZIFF will continue its developmental focus with more intense and in-depth workshops.

As in the past, ZIFF will play host to the Maisha Film Lab, as well as a host of other Three- day workshops run by experts from the world over.

According to Lara Preston, a number of key NextGen program elements have also been confirmed, including the official inclusion of Ethiopia as Guest Country for Discop Zanzibar 2018.

A special program of discussions and panels will feature top Ethiopian film industry representatives.

Nextgen program will also include panels on improving the performance and efficiencies of film commissions, the importance of Swahili content, and animation and VR amongst other topics.

The recently launched Discore program with a focus on the importance of music and synch deals within the content space.

A focus on East African music and composers will see the inclusion of the East African music industry.

The festival which started off as a regular film festival has since evolved into one of most sought after events on the continent bringing in industry specialists from Hollywood and Bollywood.

It has since become a meeting place for some of the industry’s leading professionals and industry’s stakeholders meet to strike deals that have changed the industry.

In the last decade alone film makers such as Hollywood’s Danny Glover, Mira Nair, Terry Phetto and even Bollywood Kunaal Kapoor have graced the festival as the chief guest.

This year’s festival saw a record number of entries across all categories with over 4,000 film submitted across the various entry platforms.

There was a marked increase in the amount of documentaries submitted, with over 800 being entered for consideration.

There were nearly 400 features being submitted, in the process making the selection process for 2018 extremely difficult.

Commenting on the selection process and the final line-up Festival Director Fabrizio Colombo says, the sheer number of film submissions for ZIFF 2018 was a surprise.

“It is rewarding to see how much our Festival is growing and is attracting so many filmmakers around the world, but especially from our continent,” he says.

He says, entries were received from different parts of the world with submissions coming from over 140 countries, with the USA and India leading the number of submissions.

East African filmmakers have also shown amazing interest in ZIFF with Ugandan filmmakers submitting 55 films, 54 from Kenya, and Tanzania 31.

“ZIFF’s 20th edition marked a turning point in the history of our festival. We are geared and focused on both the business and the passion of what we all love which is Cinema. With the big step this year of ZIFF’s partnership of Discop Zanzibar, we are ready and excited to welcome all the players in the business of film, television and content production. TV and digital communication will gather transforming ZIFF in a great platform to boost East Africa industry,” says Colombo.

Last week ZIFF opened its doors to registration of a range of exciting and educational workshops as part of its on-going commitment to developing and uplifting the East African film industry.

This year Edima Otuokon is the ZIFF workshops coordinator and for the first time the festival will present a web series workshop.

“In this three-day course, Vincenzo Cavallo and Tshoper Kabambi will provide participants with the tools to get started, test the renewability and audience appeal, as well as help to structure content for maximum audience engagement for webisodes,” she says .

According to her workshops and training are an integral part of ZIFF 2018 in partnership with the US Embassy to present ‘She Directs’, a directing workshop for women by women.

The workshop will be facilitated by Aylin Basaran, Cece Mlay and Debra Zimmerman. The She Directs Workshop is essential to support the growth and development of women in film in East Africa.

“ZIFF is also keen on developing African actors and providing them with mentors, so we have partnered with the award winning Jacky Ido and Nigerian acting sensation Bikiya Graham Douglas to develop an Acting Workshop that will highlight the variety of skills required to achieve believable and emotive performances,” she adds.

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Friday, June 22, 2018

Make use of ZIFF

 

In two weeks time all attention will turned to the events at Zanzibar’s Stone Town where the Zanzibar International Film Festival will be taking place.

As anticipated, the buzz is already on and according to reservations that have so far been made, there is every reason to believe that it is going be a hit.

Film makers from the rest of Africa and elsewhere will converge at the Old Fort auditorium for a 10-day extravaganza.

This is not only an opportunity to be entertained but also to learn from what our brothers and sisters are doing elsewhere in order to improve on our films.

Above all through the festivals our actors and film makers will be able to strike deals with some of the famous names on the continent.

Though the benefits that arise from this festival is well documented, many local film makers don’t seem to understand its importance.

It was little wonder that there were more film makers in the rest of East Africa especially Uganda with more submissions that our own.

This festival comes at a time when our film industry has taken several steps backwards and in need of a serious redress.

This therefore calls upon all those in the industry to turn up in numbers for this annual extravaganza.

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Friday, June 22, 2018

Zari the BossLady to judge Miss Uganda beauty pageant in August

 

She is beautiful and pulls the glam as one of Kampala’s top celebrities. Zarinah Hassan famed by her showbiz name Zari, has been named one of judges at this year’s Miss Uganda as the beauty pageant returns to the social calendar.

According to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Miss Uganda Foundation, Brenda Nanyonjo, Zari is the perfect example of the national pageant’s motto, ‘Beauty with a Purpose’.

“She is not only a beautiful women but she has managed to achieve so much in her career as a business women while she is raising 5 children. We believe she will be an excellent judge for the pageant,” Nanyonjo explains.

The Miss Uganda grand finale is slated for August 10th at the Sheraton Kampala Hotel. Zari draws part of her fame from her relationship with Tanzanian-born musical heartthrob, Diamond Platinumz.

The mother of five is also a fashion enthusiast and attracts a big following on social media, with fans in the region of five million. The annual ‘White Party’ she hosts at Guvnor in December, is one the most celebrated events on the Ugandan social calendar.

Talent Africa are events organiser of Miss Uganda and the company’s CEO, Aly Allibhai says that they are really excited to have Zari as a part of the team for the Miss Uganda Pageant.

“She is a strong independent women who is an inspiration and role model to young women in Uganda. The things she has achieved are phenomenal, she has been though many hardships but she always find a way to bounce back and keep developing and building her personal brand to be one of Uganda’s most celebrated personalities,” he adds.

Nanyonjo adds that Zari has confirmed to be guest speaker at Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities targeted to young girls organised by the Miss Uganda Foundation.

With almost two months to the event, organisers seem firm on bringing an unparalleled amount of show biz to this year’s pageant. (NMG)

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Friday, June 22, 2018

Otile opens up on Vera Sidika

 

Dar es Salaam. It is now official that singer Otile Brown is dating socialite Vera Sidika but even then their romance is still a puzzle that continues to rock headlines.

Otile who is currently in Tanzania said it was not some accident that they are together because they had been in contact for a long time before they found themselves falling in love.

Speaking to Times FM’s Playlist said they were taking one step at a time and should everything work out as they have planned he wouldn’t hesitate walking the curvaceous socialite down the aisle.

“Yeah, why not, she is smart, she is intelligence, she is a wise woman who knows how to hustle, I just love everything about her, anything can happen,” said Otile Brown.

However the Mombasa born artiste refused to comment on the rumours that the socialite was pregnant saying that was more of a private issue.

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Friday, June 22, 2018

Irene Uwoya defends raunchy posts

 

Dar es Salaam. Actress Irene Uwoya this week came under intense criticism over the choice of picture that she chose to post on her instagram page.

Many of her followers felt the pictures that she posted were very revealing leaving very little to imagination and in the process riling some of her fans.

“Irene is a married woman and she out to respect herself, and recently she hosted Iftar, now before even a week passes after Ramadhan she is posting such picture,” one wrote.

In response the rather incensed actress hit back saying it was an interference with her privacy because her choice of dressing was befitting with the scene.

“I was at the beach now how else was I supposed to dress. When I post my husband they say he is too young for me, now for your information he liked that post. Maybe next time I shall consult you before I post,” she wrote

Irene is married to rapper Dogo Janja, the two tied the knot on November 25 last year.

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Friday, June 22, 2018

Victoria Kimani starved sexually

 

There comes a time when we all miss a thing or two and that moment has come for singer Victoria Kimani who has a rare confession and guess what? She misses having sex after abstaining for almost a year now.

The American-born Kenyan singer who took the local music industry by storm five years ago, claims to have been living in celibacy since May 2017 after breaking up with Nigerian video producer Stanley Obiamalu.

In an Instagram post, the ‘China Love’ hit maker confessed how she has not gone that route ever since parting ways with Obiamalu, wondering if she is the problem or its the men who are scared of approaching her.

Victoria was once rumored to be having a secret affair with Kenyan international footballer Victor Wanyama, went on to state that she has been ready to indulge all this while but for some reason no man is up for her goodies.

“Since May last year I have not had sex. So who is the problem? Is it me or dem niggas? Because I am ready, I have been ready to. it feels like global warming” (She says spreading her legs wide open)

In a TV interview in December 2017, Victoria opened up about her breakup with Obiamalu.

“My love life has actually non-existent. I have not been in a relationship for like 6 months and I haven’t bothered to like try and find someone else. They (guys who DM her) are trying to hit that but that’s not what I want,” she stated.

She went on to say she does not intend to date a celebrity in future, terming it as a bad idea since she has tried it and it did not turn out well.

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Friday, June 15, 2018

Zari and the mind games at WCB

 

By Paul Owere

Dar es Salaam. They were a celebrity couple that got East Africa talking but when Zari posted that black rose on Valentine’s Day to announce their separation, many hearts were indeed broken.

Then after months of silence Diamond Platinumz released the video of Iyena off his 'A boy From Tandale' album which featured Zari as the bride and Diamond as the groom.

This was not the first time that Zari has featured in a video with her superstar crooner, the first was her appearance in ‘Utanipenda’ which was released two years ago.

The video which features the two in a wedding became an instant hit with some insiders claiming that it was a sign of things to come from the couple, it has so far hit Four Million views in two weeks

In the grapevine, word immediately started spreading that the pair had got back together and that they were set to wed soon.

Diamond’s team was later seen roaming the streets of Pretoria but no one could actually confirm why they were there and the rumours continued to persist to deafening levels.

And as it was proved later, Diamond was indeed in South Africa to play some of his parental duties as a father to Zari’s two children.

As a matter of fact Zari had to clear the air, it was just that and not a reunion as it had been rumoured by her supporters who want to see her back with the ‘Kwangaru’ singer.

Zari Hassan in her usual style finally responded to claims of renewed romance with her Tanzanian ex-lover Diamond Platinumz.

Zari, in an Instagram stories post, explained that she has not reunited with Diamond, and the two have only agreed to raise their children together.

“Just to clear the air we are not back together but we have agreed on co-parenting as per my break up post that we will remain great parents to our lovely kids. Just a little note to all our fans, we love you,” Zari wrote.

In her tone she sounds like a woman who has forgiven but not forgotten for they have two children to raise, and they need them both and not otherwise.

Even after the story of a love triangle that involved Hamisa, Zari maintained that by cheating openly Diamond had disrespected her in many ways.

“Men cheat, but this was way too much in the open that it compromises my integrity and dignity as a human being,” she told a TV station in Kenya.

Her visit to Dar es Salaam to seal a deal with Danube Home was seen as a peace maker that was meant to mend fences with WCB CEO but even this was in vain.

Diamond’s philandering ways would catch up with him as several women continued to come forward to claim they had slept with the superstar who is set to perform at the World Cup this year.

A week after the release of ‘A boy From Tandale’ he posted a raunchy video with Hamisa and some unknown woman something that irked the ire of the Arts Council forcing police to swing into action.

This did not endear Diamond to Zari whatsoever and perhaps it was the last stroke on the horse’s back, she had seen it all and therefore reached a point of no return.

There is plenty of power brokering going on in the back ground with Diamond’s family favouring the reunion with Zari as opposed to Hamisa whom they accuse all sorts of things including one of not being a wife material.

Word has it that the Hamisa and Diamond’s mother don’t see eye to eye with even reports of a fight a fortnight ago at Diamon’s Madale home.

Sandra the family matriach has not helped issues and she has in many her posts stated openy that she cannot see her son end up with someone ‘unworthy.’

She would rather accept former beauty queen Wema Sepetu back in the fold than have to deal with Hamisa as a daughter-in-law.

And with that news still a matter of speculation there is one that say the video vixen has been bought a house in Dar es Salaam by the African Beauty singer.

Much of what is going on could be more of drama and fiction but it is one that has been depicted from a certain book for it is happening in real time with real life characters starring a boy from Tandale.

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Friday, June 15, 2018

Navy Kenzo drop first track since AIM



Aika and Nahreel

Aika and Nahreel 

By Paul Owere

Dar es Salaam. Bongo Flava duo Navy Kenzo (Aika and Nahreel) this week released their first single since their debut album AIM hit the airwaves.

Navy Kenzo the makers of mega hit records like “Kamatia Chini”, “Game” featuring Vanessa Mdee and “Bajaj” featuring Patoranking, have released new single and music video titled ‘Fella’.

The dancehall tune was produced by Nahreel and Alvin Brown, comes hot on the heels of Nahreel’s production of the Coca-Cola anthem for the 2018 World Cup.

Speaking on their return since the release of their critically acclaimed 2018 debut album, Navy Kenzo said the song is a celebration of their African heritage.

“We are proud of Africa and Fella is a show of how we embrace and celebration of Africa,” said Nahreel.

“As Navy Kenzo we have never showcased this kind of African expression in our videos – making many people always wonder if we do come from Africa.”

The concept and idea behind Fella is a celebration of Africa’s diverse music styles, avant-garde fashion culture and the richness of the continent.

Its music video was shot and directed in Bagamoyo, Tanzania by celebrated South African director Justin Campos – a long-term collaborator of Navy Kenzo.

Nahreel says, “For the first time, we [Aika and I] took up the creative direction of our music video; from the fashion and hair stylists, makeup artists to designers.”

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Friday, June 15, 2018

Mad Ice’s reflections on his music and the industry



Mad Ice. PHOTO | FILE

Mad Ice. PHOTO | FILE 

By Paul Owere

After two years of silence since his 2016 release Delilah, Singer Mad Ice returns strong with Beautiful.

Mad Ice is a dynamic, well versed, self-taught singer-songwriter and producer who crosses all genres with his music.

What is new from Mad Ice?

There is a new single “Beautiful” featuring Kenya’s dancehall artist Wyre and Jamaican singer and producer Richie Loop. The song came out officially on May 31, 2018, and now available on all major online stores and streaming services including Spotify, iTunes, Napster, Amazon, Google Play, and of course our own Mkito.com. Produced here in Helsinki by Dj Hermanni, a prominent Finnish producer that I constantly collaborate with when it comes to electronic music production.

What is your take on Bongo Flava today?

Honestly, this is a very general but all I can say is that I see some changes these days. Some Bongo Flava artists are starting to handle themselves in a more professional manner than before, more artists are concentrating on creating better quality work both audio and videos. Creativity still lacks though but that has always been a known weakness in the Bongo Flava industry, some prefer copying someone else’s idea because it’s trending or singing exactly like any existing artist rather than creating their own path.

What was the main reason for switching your base from Dar to Helsinki?

The main reason for switching my base from Dar to Helsinki was a record deal. I signed a three-year contract in July 2004 and in 2006 I made a decision of relocating permanently since all my recordings were to be done in Finland with Miikka Mwamba who was my producer at that time and had left Tanzania and returned to his home country Finland. So, it was convenient for me to stay close and continue working with him.

How did that move help shape your music?

Switching base made me see things in a different perspective. The industry is very competitive and things are done with proficiency and in a very professional way, be it small or big. This gave me a chance to improve and learn new things in the music industry at an international and industry standard level. Most production facilities in this country are top notch and costly, that fact alone automatically changes the way one works and shapes the artiste to work with discipline.

When you look at yourself today can you say you have achieved your career goals?

Yes, I can say I have. Though not all but almost everything I’ve ever wanted to get out of my career has so far gone through as planned and I am more than grateful.

How comfortable is it doing music abroad yet you greatest fan base is in Tanzania and the larger East Africa?

That’s a very big challenge and somewhat costly because you have to fly in and out in order to keep tabs on things. It requires my presence as an artiste to handle all interviews especially on TV, luckily radio is easier and can be done from anywhere but the fact that I’m live on air also triggers a different feeling to your fans. Also, being absent from that side affects a lot on the airplay of my work and many artists in the diaspora.

Should we look forward to something like an album in the near future?

Definitely, at the moment I’m working on two projects at simulteneously. One for mainstream focusing on Pop/Dancehall and the other for the world music market, an acoustic project with a specific focus on afro-soul

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Friday, June 15, 2018

ZIFF opens registration for workshops



Assistant festival Director

Assistant festival Director 

By Salome Gregory

The Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) 2018 has opened registration for a range of exciting and educational workshops as part of its on-going commitment to developing and uplifting the East African film industry.

Available information from ZIFF shows that, every year ZIFF offers workshops that can be attended at no cost by up and coming professionals in the region.

Through the workshops participants will be able to learn from other successful series, how to create webisodes, understand proper script length for each genre (5 – 15 pages), learn how to write for low budget and raise money for your web series, learn particular aspects of specific genres (comedy, drama, thrillers).

They also get tips about production and how to produce a webisode while writing one, live script readings as you develop, emerge with a web series package and have a great time.

The information further shows that, applications for the She Directs and Screenwriting workshops will be closed today as the Web Series closes on June 22nd. The She Directs workshop will be facilitated by Aylin Basaran, Cece Mlay and Debra Zimmerman on 8th-12th July.

It will focus on all phases of directing a fictional or documentary film, from creating an idea to developing a creative concept and the practical workflows that enable them.

On acting Workshop award winner Jacky Ido and Nigerian acting sensation Bikiya Graham-Douglas will facilitate the three days Acting Workshop, highlighting the variety of skills that need to be mastered to achieve believable and emotive performances. This course has been designed to explore the fundamental skills required for film and television acting and is ideal for anyone who wishes to obtain practical insight to acting for screen. With Imagine East Africa on Screenwriting workshop Dr. Mona Mwakalinga a facilitator, trainer and instructor in film from the University of Dar es Salaam and Ayeta Anne Wangusa, the Executive Director of Culture and Development East Africa (CDEA) whose vision is An East African Community Where Culture Is at the Centre of Development will facilitate during ZIFF 2018.

ZIFF will take place from July 7th – 15th with the theme speak up and be heard.

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Friday, June 8, 2018

Like a friend, Rafiki has a true message

 

By Hillary Kimuyu

Censorship in the arts industry is not anew thing in this region as many artistes find their works on the wrong side of the law.

Last year at the Zanzibar International Film Festival the screening of Zimbabwean film Escape by Joe Njagu and Agnieszka Piotrowska had to be cut short due to what festival organisers deemed as unacceptable sexual scenes that was against the societal norms.

Despite the negotiations the film was never saw the light of the day, the film according to the festival promoted values that were not African and more especially Zanzibari.

And then came the mother of all in Kenya when Wanuri Kahiu’s Rafiki was banned, the film went on to premiere and win an award at the Cannes Film Festival last month.

According to Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) boss Ezekiel Mutua, the film promotes homosexuality.

When I first met Wanuri several years ago was at the screening of her film at ZIFF and that same film, Pumzi went on to win an award at the festive. She was never an easy character film-wise she spoke about difficult topics.

And now she says Rafiki is just the beginning. She says the noise being made about the film in Kenya is just what the industry needs to grow.

Speaking to Sunday Nation (a sister publication of The Beat), Ms Kahiu wondered why KFCB was overstepping its mandate, which is to classify films.

“We believe their mandate is to classify; we also believe Kenyan adults are mature and discerning enough to vote for presidents and constitutions. If we are able to do all that, then we are able to see a film that has no nudity, no drugs, no underage drinking and no obscenity. We are able to see those films and grapple with the issues they depict. We are a mature people,” Ms Kahiu says.

“We also know that we have access to this same content on the screens which the KFCB has classified. We have seen more shockers in the theatres that have been rated by KFCB than what is in my film,” adds the author, who describes herself as a creator.

When the film was banned by KFCB, orders were issued against its distribution, exhibition or broadcast anywhere in the country, adding that doing so would be a breach of the law because the film contains homosexual scenes.

Kahiu wonders why everyone has been talking about film laws which have been in existence for more than 50 years, which were used by colonisers’ to suppress the art industry.

“My curiosity is why we started talking about these laws, yet they have been in existence for more than 50 years. My question is, why are we using laws that were created during the colonial era to suppress and control us? Why are we proudly using them now? That can’t be right.” “The law should be a reflection of our society and more so a reflection of the Constitution we voted for, she adds.

Ms Kahiu said that Kenya was privileged to be a democratic country and everyone had the right to vote, and most have voted for a constitution that guarantees freedom of expression. And that, she says, is what Kenyans should be concentrating on.

The film maker, who has written and directed several films, believes that change is coming because there are too many voices in the industry which are saying, “this can’t be right.”

She adds that there are many artistes and organisations who are saying they cannot allow a country to be ruled or suppressed by the will of a few in power. “We need to have a voice in order to push for change. We need our voices to be hopeful, joyful, and we need them to be through art because that is the only way we can reflect our own society. We feel that KFCB are some of the people in power who are trampling on our constitutional rights.”

She defends Rafiki saying she made it 100 per cent within the law. “I did not break any law while making this film, unlike what has been said by the head of KFCB. The Constitution guarantees me freedom of expression to make the film.”

On whether she supports homosexuality, Ms Kahiu says there is no law in Kenya which says it is illegal and wonders why her film was banned yet no one has ever been arrested nor film makers challenged when they have a film that has violence in it.

According to Ms Kahiu, her film has got more attention because of the ban. “I think the movie got more attention the moment it was banned. I believe Dr Mutua knew it would get more attention if he banned it.”

She also credits the KFCB boss for being the first person to talk about the film to the media.

Rafiki will be released soon in New York, Los Angeles and five other cities in the United States. It will also be released in Switzerland and in France and will be in more than 40 theatres across the country.

Asked about the seven-minute standing ovation at Cannes, where the film premiered, a beaming Ms Kahiu said the reason it got such a reception was because it was a love story from Kenya. “I can’t market Kenya more than the film itself can. It will be at this month’s Sydney Film Festival. So I’m excited that we will have a bit of Nairobi in Sydney.”

Ms Kahiu is grateful to the Kenya Film Commission (KFC) who, she says, have been very supportive and fully behind Rafiki. “The commission helped us get to Cannes because they believed that, being the first Kenyan film at the festival is not only something worth celebrating but also a mark of the industry’s growth.”

Additional reporting by Paul Owere in Dar es Salaam

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Friday, June 8, 2018

THT set for new recruitment

 

By Paul Owere

Dar es Salaam. The Tanzania House of Talent is one place that has become a breeding ground for many of today’s Bongo Flava artistes who have gone on to become stars in their own right.

The Kinondoni based organisation nurtures and grooms artistes from the scratch to before it unleashes them on the market.

This weekend they embark on a recruitment drive for new talent after having produced great artistes such as Ruby, Nandy, Barnabas, Mwasiti and Ditto.

Others, who have benefitted from THT’s programmes, include Amini, Marlaw, Maunda Zorro and Hafsa Kazinja, Rachel, and Lina among others.

According to organisers the organisation has been a launch pad for several careers in the country, an obligation that they are not about to slow down on.

We shall start registering new acts on June 9 with the objective of getting as many talented young people as possible so that we can hone their skills to make them the best that there is in the country,” said Omba Otenga.

He says that it is only through THT that such young talent can be groomed into the future stars in the music industry.

He also says the institution offers the trainees a rare hands training and opportunities to travel to different parts of country through the performance invitations. For the 12 years that it has been in existence its graduates continue dazzle audiences with their breathtaking performances wherever they go.

It is usually not easy to believe that it has been 12 years down the road and the house has produced great artistes that rule the airwaves today.

For those who have been part of it, it has acted as a platform to launch their careers in singing, acting and dancing.

The Tanzania House of Talents (THT) has been a source of hope to young homeless or vulnerable people in the country.

The house offers classes and guidance in a range of performing arts and life skills as well as a safe place for them rehearse.

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Friday, June 8, 2018

Korean films gaining appeal in TZ

 

Dar es Salaam. The annual Korean Film festival marked its 6th anniversary in Tanzania with the screening of movies in Dar es Salaam and Arusha in the last two weeks. Like 2017, this year’s festival - which was held at Dar Free Market mall’s Century Cinemax in Dar es Salaam and AIM Mall’s Regalz Cinema in Arusha - broke with tradition by being held between late May and early June due to scheduling challenges. Last year also saw the films being screened in early May to accommodate celebrations marking the 25th anniversary of Korea-Tanzania diplomatic relations, instead of October or November as has been tradition since 2013.

This year, the Korean embassy organized three films: the Suspect (action), the King of Jokgu (a Korean style soccer) (comic) and Hope (drama).

“We tried to introduce a variety of films so that Tanzanians could taste different aspects of Korean culture and society,” said Ms Jiin An, the First Secretary and deputy chief of Mission at the Republic of Korea embassy in Tanzania.

Korean culture including drama, films, music, food, and beauty products are increasingly gaining popularity in Tanzania. Korean dramas such as Jumong, Jewel in the Palace, The Wind of the Palace, and City Hunter – among others - have enjoyed great success among Tanzanians.

“These events are organized by our embassy with the hope that many Tanzanians experience the diversity of Korean culture; so that we can feel closer and understand each other better,” the First Secretary explained.

In the period between 2013 and 2014, Korea joined the Asian Film Festival, where member countries included Indonesia, China, Oman, Pakistan and Palestine. However, from 2015, the country started to organise its own film festival

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Friday, June 8, 2018

Wolper: I am not part of that show

 

It is drama and even more drama in Bongo Flava.

This week as attention was all focused on what is going on with the WCB CEO whose love life has been nothing short of a train wreck, news broke out that Hermonize would perform on one stage with Jacqueline Wolper.

The news got both sets of fans excited as they looked forward to see the former two love birds together again after their bitter break up almost a year ago.

This was announced at a high profile news conference in Dar es Salaam but the actress soon refuted the claims that she would be part of the show.

Writing on her instgram page Wolper said she knew nothing about the show and that she shouldn’t be associated with the drama that is going on.

“I would like to tell all my fans that I am currently out of the country and I won’t be back until sometime in July those who are saying that I shall be available at the Dar Live show are lying,” she wrote.

This comes just days after word spread that the actress was set to open a shop in Nairobi.

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Friday, June 8, 2018

Juliana musical to grace Hapa awards in California

Julian actors performing during the 20th

Julian actors performing during the 20th edition of ZIFF 

Dar es Salaam. Swahili musical Juliana which depicts some of the historic moments in Tanzania is set to open the second Hollywood and African Prestigeous Awards (Hapa) at the Alex Theatre in California on September 30.

Juliana which was produced by Ma Vicky Rugakingira, depicts and traces the footprints of how it is believed HIV/Aids virus first entered Kagera Region in Tanzania after the fall of the infamous Dictator Iddi Amin of Uganda, in the late 1970s to early 1980s.

Currently, Ma Vicky is relentlessly working in partnership with a USA based Film Production Company, Chima Movie Empire Productions to project Juliana Musical Drama to Broadway Exhibition this year.

Rugakingira is currently working on filming Juliana Musical Drama which is set to turn into mainstream motion picture and its premiere which is set for in July 2018.

The musical was last year shown at the 20th edition of the Zanzibar International Film Festival attracting applause from the audience.

With energetic dances that come from both sides of the border of Tanzania and Uganada it is one that is bound to leave you speechless.

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Friday, June 8, 2018

Saving traditional beats from extinction

 

By Monika Rebala,

In Tanzania music is played everywhere: on crowded, colorful streets, in dala dalas, popular small buses, and in roadside bars, which serve grilled corn and roasted pistachios. Tanzanians even walk as if they are dancing.

This passion for music comes from the tribes. In a country, with a population of 50 million people, there are more than 120 of them and all of them have different traditional instruments, tunes, and songs.

In the cosmopolitan Dar es Salaam, by the Indian Ocean, you can hear almost all of them: from the melodies played on the ilimba, an instrument of the Gogo from central Tanzania, to taarab music, akin to sung poetry, and popular in Zanzibar.

Yet the younger generation prefers the Bongo Flava, a local version of hip hop. And the local stars are more and more inspired by their American idols; they imitate their music, gestures and clothing style.

No wonder that older musicians fear that in a few decades, the Tanzanians may no longer be able to make traditional instruments or even play them.

In colonial times, the traditional music and dancing performances encouraged resistance against the rulers.

Today, artists, in the same way, are encouraging resistance against growing western influences, to save their rich tradition from disappearing.

Seventy-two year-old Warema Chacha is a well known Litungu player, a stringed instrument of the Kurya tribe from north-western Tanzania.

As he grows older, he is more determined to pass his knowledge and love for music on to younger generations.

“I often tell young people that it’s important to value your own culture, because in this way you can know yourself better. You won’t know it by playing bongo flava,” he says at his house in Bagamoyo, 60 km from Dar es Salaam.

“Many times when you don’t appreciate your own things they can disappear. If someone comes to me, I can help and teach him to play the instrument, even making him one for free,” he adds showing a self-made litungu.

He has already encouraged his grandson Ally, who plays is a drummer with Ze Spirits, to also take litungu lessons.

“The Litungu is not well known and we are the only ones who can save it from disappearing and introduce it to the world because we are close to Chacha, who knows everything about this instrument,” says 21-year-old Sajaly Sharif, Ally’s friend from the band that plays afro-fusion, a mix of traditional and modern music.

He adds: This can also be a good marketing strategy for us. Like most bands, we also play the guitar, but if you go to America or Europe, you’ll find people who do it better. We can be the kings of the litungu, though. And thanks to this, people may be more interested in our music.

Warema Chacha is also teaching young musicians that music is not only for entertainment. His songs encourage people to vote in elections and warn against malaria and HIV/ Aids.

“What is most important is its educational role and the message it carries,” he says.

Music is also an important element of national identity. In 1964, when Mwalimu Julius Nyerere united Zanzibar and Tanganyika to form Tanzania, traditional art gained more significance.

His government used the performances of traditional artists from different tribes to break down ethnic differences in the young nation.

Warema Chacha joined the national troupe of traditional musicians as a teenager, and played in it on the litungu for over 36 years.

The Bagamoyo College of Art, located near Mr. Chacha’s house, was founded in 1981 as a training ground for the national troupes.

Today, it is one of a few places where people can learn real traditional music. The conditions for learning are something from a dream: classes take place just a stone’s throw from the Indian Ocean, and the sound of the waves can be heard from the rooms.

“Students are increasingly getting interested in traditional instruments, because they don’t want to lose their culture. It is now fashionable to combine traditional and modern rhythms,” says Maulid Mohamed Saleman, a teacher at the Bagamoyo school.

He inherited his musical talent from his parents.

“My mother was a dancer, and my father a musician and a village leader. When he wanted to meet with his people, he called them by banging on the drums. Sometimes I wonder how he would have reacted if he had had the chance to listen to young people mixing the sound of the drums with modern guitars,” Mr. Saleman says with a smile.

“In the beginning my family thought that I had lost my mind,” says 34-year-old Msafiri, son of the late traditional musician Hukwe Zawose who played on the ilimba and gained international recognition thanks to his collaboration with the British singer Peter Gabriel.

“But now they like my music. It sounds different from my father’s music, but still it’s a traditional melody,” he says at his house in Bagamoyo. Msafiri has already recorded a few albums, and performed in the US, among other countries.

Yet some older musicians are a little bit afraid of the consequences of blending with other styles.

“In 20-30 years there will be no pure traditional music. But I think it’s worth paying this price if we save traditional melodies and instruments from disappearing,” says 74-year-old Makame Faki, a famous taarab musician from Zanzibar.

On a hot Saturday night in Nafasi Art Space, a fashionable cultural center in Dar es Salaam, a crowd of young people dances to the music of Ze Spirits.

They are drinking local Kilimanjaro beer and eating popcorn. “Traditional music will evolve but not die. Tanzanian have this music in their genes” says Rebecca Corey, the director of Nafasi and a co-founder of the Tanzanian Heritage Project, a cultural initiative whose aim is to record traditional musicians, like Warema Chacha.

Mr. Chacha has also recently performed on the stage in Nafasi Art Space with his grandson and his band. Sometimes, he even listens to Bongo Flava songs.

He admits that some of them are not so bad, but he doesn’t understand why artists dress the way they do.

“Wearing trousers below the waist is not our tradition, wearing glasses is common for CIA agents so that people cannot see their eyes.

Sometimes they wear women’s glasses and think it’s fine, and sometimes clothes for women and earrings. I pray to God to help them,” he says, trying to hold back laughter.

However, he might be able to forget about their outfits if they start to take litungu lessons. “At the end, hip hop sounds almost like the Kurya tribe heroic recitation,” he adds with a smile.

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Friday, June 8, 2018

Inganzo Ngari dancing their way to stardom

 

By Paul Owere

Serge Nehimana is the group leader of Inganzo Ngari a dance troupe whose pulsating beats and graceful dances has become one of must see performances at many festivals both in Rwanda and overseas.

This year they were part of the Sauti za Busara festival where they performed on two stages at the Forodhani Gardens and at the Ngome Kongwe stage.

The group has been around for 12 years bringing to the fore front some of the best dance export from Rwanda. This week Nehimana speaks to the Beat on their journey so far.

Where did the idea of creating this group come from?

This was after realizing how Intore (dancers) were living in a miserable economic situation, we thought of creating a troupe that is oriented to the well-being of Intore in order to find a sustainable solution to that problem.

Where did the members come from was there a special recruitment drive (who qualifies)?

The dancers come from almost every part of Rwanda, at the beginning the troupe was started by founders it was a group of around 25 people and after that these founders recruited slow by slow the best dancers in the country.

What did you hope to achieve by creating this group?

We always had a vision of creating a sustainable group that will keep on benefiting socially and economically its members in addition we believed that this will benefit different generation that is why we kept on adding new members to the group even after we felt we had enough members. This is because those who are around right now cannot dance forever.

What dominates the theme of your dances and who coordinates the choreography?

Just like many African societies every dance has its meaning and every show can have its theme this means that the theme can change. But generally it’s about social,economic,cultural and history of Rwandans and I have to mention that it is it’s purely traditional.

What has been the story so far?

This group have been growing over the years so far I have to admit that it is the best in Rwanda and we have many projects ahead with many tours lined up for us.

I understand that you have toured widely. Where have you been so far and what do you think is the secret to the group’s success?

I think that the secret dwells in self-determination of always making the difference we always aim at bringing something new that is the good enough for the audience. You don’t expect them to keep coming back if it is the same old show.

When the group members are not dancing what are they doing?

Ours is a large group with different people some dance professionally and others are employed in some other companies but we also have students who are still in school.

Do you think dance as a powerful tool can be used to preserve and promote culture?

Dance remains one of the most iconic tools to Rwandan culture and according to testimonies Rwandan traditional dance is very famous worldwide

As a group does this kind of thing pay the bills and what else do you do apart from dancing?

Yes of course it is included in the entertainment industry and I have to say that from dancing people manage to take care of their households, paying school fees etc. Apart from dancing this group also do art crafts, music, fashion design, decoration, it participates in the community development activities, charities and many others. One of the aims of this group is to preserve the culture and to do that we also teach the culture we organize cultural camps to teach children and adults about Rwandan Culture

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Friday, June 1, 2018

DJ Senorita defying all the odds to stay at the top

 

Dar es Salaam. There was a time when female DJs were few and far between, and those that dared to make it in the field were seen as outcasts, it was a man’s world

While times have definitely changed, the rampant sexism in music means some of the industry’s most exciting DJs and producers aren’t getting their platform.

Just like elsewhere in the corporate world women are beginning to blossom in an industry highly saturated and associated with men, proving they can rise to the occasion to provide some of the best service that money can buy.

In Tanzania today though the situation remains almost unchanged, there is a young woman who is getting the audiences on their feet each time she is on the wheels of steel –DJ Senorita.

With quite her striking looks she could have settled for other fields that most women chose such as modeling and other beauty related fields but she settled for a job behind the mixer.

“My love for music pushed me towards this job, as a young girl while growing up we didn’t have any other means for entertainment apart from listening to the radio. As I grew up the love for music and specifically that of becoming a DJ was ingrained in me as I didn’t have a singing talent because I am a shy person,” she tells the Beat.

Having started her journey some six years ago into what many thought was a gamble DJ Senorita has shown that she is equally talented and ambitious, she had to overcome career challenges to become one of the most sought after DJ today.

“My journey started almost six years ago after watching various djs at the time such as DJ Fetty, DJ PQ and Peter Moe who inspired me to love the profession and I started pursuing it. After I was done with school I moved to Dar es Salaam to sharpen my skills on the decks,” she says.

The evolution of the digital era meant that women would have a shot as they wouldn’t have to lug cases of records around as the case was before.

While each success story has a unique track, there is no doubt that DJ Senorita has one thing in common with other successful DJ across the world—she is not afraid to ‘mix it up’!

She is passionate about what she does and willing to learn new trends in her industry while putting in some extra miles as well.

Observers say what sets these women apart is that they can be glamorous and change up their look, emphasize their femininity, fashion sense and sex appeal in a way obviously men can’t.

“Without taking anything away from her I think this gives a unique edge and something new and interesting to the game....Senorita exudes Girl Power!!!” remarks one reveller who has attended her shows.

But the early days were all that a bed of roses, not many were paying attention to what she was doing and some rubbished her off as one of those time wasters.

Her break through would eventually come when she was hired to perform at the Just Got Paid event which was held at Azura in Dar es Salaam with some big shots in attendance and she didn’t disappoint.

“There were some EA Radio executives in attendance and they loved what I was doing and they gave me my first radio gig and then I moved to my current employer Clouds Media Group. All I can say is that my first gig was very special,” she says.

Apart from the lack of recognition in the early days she had to make do with either hired or borrowed equipment something which made the already complicated situation even worse.

“Just like any other industry there are problems especially for someone who is just starting up, for example I didn’t have my own equipments and that was very hard until I saved up enough to buy up my own and they didn’t come cheap,” she says.

She has since grown to become a resident DJ at one of the leading night clubs in Dar es Salaam, she also gets gigs outside the country which she says pay more than local gigs.

“I am a resident DJ at Elements and I usually tour around East Africa especially Nairobi where they have invited me a couple of times as recent as February I have also played at a couple of countries in Asia most notably in Malaysia,” she says.

According to her the value of a DJ in Tanzania is yet to reach that of their counterparts abroad because many event organisers do not value DJs.

“They end up paying very little money compared to other places I have been outside the country or when they invite a foreign DJ which is quite unbelievable.”

In her job she deals with male compatriots and fans and she admits that they are not easy to deal with at all because many of them are yet to treat her as an equal.

“Men are competitive in nature and starting up it was hard for them to accept my mixing abilities and skills but I got used to it and after building working relationships with them it became easier and many more girls are picking up disc jockeying as a career so they are becoming a bit more receptive.”

But that is not all she has had to deal with especially those who will not take NO for an answer and can’t understand the fact that the only reason she is in a night club is because she has to work.

“Men are kind of troublesome as they think because I am a DJ then I am easily accessible and some of them usually overstep to the point of being stalkers and harassers but I take all these challenges in my stride because I have my stand as a woman,” she says.

Though it is job that is paying her bills she has some reservation on advising young girls to take it up as a career of choice.

“I wouldn’t really advise them unless they are passionate about it and have real love for music and still I would advise them to at least have a substantial level of education to fall back on,” she says.

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Friday, June 1, 2018

Wedding bells toll for Rayvanny

 

Dar es Salaam. After weeks of rumors, Bongo Flava artiste Rayvanny has confirmed that he is set to tie the knot in a near future with his long time girlfriend who is also the mother of his child.

The Pochi Nene singer had earlier on been tight lipped on when he would make the big announcement to Fahyma saying’ when the time is right we shall let you know’.

“As you are all aware a wedding is something that involves so many people and therefore it requires some arrangements from both sides but when the time is right you will be notified,” said Rayvanny.

In comparison to his other WCB compatriots Rayvanny has led a steady relationship which has not attracted drama so far, this is despite having a stellar career which has made him one of the most sought after in Bongo Flava.

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Friday, June 1, 2018

ShiiKANE on the road to conquering Africa

 

By Paul Owere @TheCitizenTZ news@nationmedia.com

 An all girl group is not common in the music industry today and those that have tried that lane did not last long both locally and elsewhere.

But even as odds continue to rare its ugly heads towards female acts, ShiiKANE a group from Nigeria has defied odds to stick together for almost a decade now.

The group made up of three sisters Kay, Shay and AnnaMay have shown that they have what it takes to stay right on the top of an industry that has proved to very unforgiving to female artistes. And they are determined to take over Africa as the leading female group with their latest releases which include Oga Police, Answer me and Loke.

Their music has become quite popular in Tanzania and because of that they spent a whole week in Dar es Salaam on a media tour which brought them face to face with some of their fans.

“This tour was supposed to be an East African one but we decided to concentrate on Tanzania because of the love that they have shown us long before we even thought of coming here,” Shay told the Beat in an interview.

She adds: We are focusing on East Africa because it has always been a place close to our hearts. Since the release of “Oga Police” - one of our biggest hits, we have been receiving so much love from East Africa and Tanzania in particular. With “Answer Me” we officially launch in East Africa.

While in Tanzania, SHiiKANE are also set to meet up with Vanessa Mdee, Navy Kenzo and Ben Pol, among other acts and they hit the Wanene studios where they recorded a collabo with Chin Bees.

“It was rather instant even with the language barriers between us and we think it is going to be a great track that our fans both in Nigeria and East Africa will love,” says Kay.

Born and raised in London, UK the three sisters they are residing back home in Nigeria after their attempt to music in the US failed.

“The only reason we had to come back to Africa which is the birth place of our parents was because we felt it was where our music was best understood and it was a conscious move for us as group,”says Kay.

The lack of female collaborations is one thing that they think is holding women back because women just can’t work together as opposed to their male counterparts.

“One thing that keeps pulling us back is the fact that women still can’t resolve our differences and that is why men will keep on being on top.”

She cites a project that they initiated which was supposed to feature female artistes but the response was quite underwhelming.

The group started their professional music career by releasing their debut Mixtape ‘SHiiKANE Touched This’ in 2009, and has since made strides and are now the CEO’s of their own Record label ‘Mama A Records’.

The group has been nominated for numerous awards and gone on to win Best UK African Female at the BEFFTA Awards 2016, Best Artist at the Chub Magazine Awards 2016 and IVEHS Award 2016 Recognition of Contribution.

Apart from music, SHiiKANE are involved in a number of charitable causes via their foundation called “Anthonias Children’s Foundation” - set up in honor of their late mother.

They have also scored several collaborations with top African acts including their Nigerian counterparts such as Orezi, Harrysong, Oritse Femi and with Ghanaian BET-award winning dancehall artiste Stonebwoy. They have also toured with global stars heavyweights: Dbanj and Tekno.

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Friday, June 1, 2018

Nasty C drops two singles off his upcoming album

 

By Paul Owere

South African singer Nasty C, has today released two new singles ‘King and Jungle’ ahead of his highly anticipated second album, ‘Strings and Bling’.

This comes a few weeks after an exclusive Nairobi listening session of the album, where he hosted industry stakeholders who got to sample new songs set to feature in the album.

Produced by Cody Rhones, ‘Jungle’ is a trap-happy song and a meditation on Nasty C’s experience of the concrete jungle that Johannesburg is.

“The jungle is our community where anything and everything happens, it’s where people live recklessly. There are no rules because you can do whatever you want. The jungle is also Jo’burg. A lot more stuff happens there than what happened when I used to be in Durban. Those two meanings are intertwined,” he says

While ‘Jungle’ sees a more aggressive Nasty C re-enter the music scene, the song, produced by South Africa’s Tweezy, is a tongue-in-cheek look at misguided youth who refer to themselves as “young kings.”

King features American rapper, A$AP Ferg, who recorded his verse during a visit to South Africa. “It’s not like I’m calling myself king,” explained Nasty C.

“It’s about these kids who talk too much and I’m mocking the term ‘king’ because of how those guys call each other that.”

  On ‘King,’ Nasty C raps about visiting places like Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana and waxes lyrical about feeding women jollof rice. Travelling has given the 21-year-old a wealth of experience to pour into his new music and he is thrilled to share it all in Strings And Bling.

Strings And Bling is Nasty C’s first release through Universal Music Group Africa and the team in Nigeria shared their excitement about the opportunities for this talented artist within the market.

The General Manager, Universal Music Group Nigeria, Mr. Ezegozie Eze, said: “Nasty C is one of Africa’s finest musical exports and his latest album is a testament to the skill, craft and passion that he brings to his game every single time.

Each song on the album tells a story and connects with listeners in different ways, and we are thrilled to bring this excellent body of work to the market.”

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Friday, June 1, 2018

ZIFF 2018 announces official films

 

By Salome Gregory

The Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) 2018 edition has announced the official selection of films in competition for 2018 awards.

Festival Director Fabrizio Colombo says 2017 saw a record number of entries across all categories with over 4,000 film submitted across the various entry platforms.

The selection process according to him was extremely difficult following an increase in the amount of documentaries submitted, with over 800 being entered for consideration. With nearly 400 features being submitted, and over 2,400 short films also being submitted.

“The sheer number of film submissions for ZIFF 2018 was a surprise. It is rewarding to see how much our festival is growing and is attracting so many filmmakers around the world, but especially from our continent. We tried to stick close to our theme for this year, celebrating the courage of many filmmakers who are telling the truth and speaking out for positive change in this world,” says Colombo.

Entries were also received from all over the world with submissions coming from over 140 countries, with the USA and India leading the number of submissions. East African filmmakers have also shown amazing interest in ZIFF with Ugandan filmmakers submitting 55 films, 54 from Kenya, and from Tanzania 31 films were entered. “I’m glad to see the potentiality of the cinema industry in East Africa being actualised, and I have to mention particularly the creativity of young Tanzanian filmmakers that through their short films, are truly showing the new wave of cinema in Tanzania. We invite all cinema lovers to join us this year in Zanzibar,” says Colombo.

Films in competition hail from countries including Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda South Africa, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Iraq, Western Sahara, Niger, Iran, The United States, France, Ghana, Belgium, Tunisa, Swaziland, India, United Kingdom and many more.

The films in selection cross a broad spectrum of topics and genres and represent over 40 countries with a strong African representation. Films in competition hail from countries including Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda South Africa, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Iraq, Western Sahara, Niger, Iran, The United States, France, Ghana, Belgium, Tunisa, Swaziland, India, United Kingdom and many more.

The festival will take place in various venues in and around Stone Town Zanzibar from July 7th – 15th 2018

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Friday, June 1, 2018

Amani speaks on seeking Christ

 

Ceciliah Wairimu, popularly known as Amani was one of the household names in East Africa’s showbiz for the past decade but it seems that will have to take a break for now.

She is famed for songs such as ‘Missing My Baby’, ‘Tonight’ and ‘Kiboko Changu’ a song she worked on with Uganda’s dancehall duo Radio & Weasel and became a lead single off her last album in 2015.

After a successful journey as a secular artiste, she has bid goodbye the glamour that comes with celebrity lifestyle to seek salvation. She shares her new life and future plans with LILYS NJERU.

What called you to Christ?

I just got tired and it is something that I had been thinking about for a very long time. The whole thing – going for shows, getting home late – started taking its toll on me and I started questioning myself; if I was truly happy as a secular artiste.

When it comes to music, at what point of your life were you really happy?

It was when I was doing gospel. I decided to renew my relationship with my God but it became very tricky. Here you are, seeking a new path but still in the limelight. Interestingly, even as a secular artiste, I wouldn’t start my shows without saying a prayer. That was a routine I had mastered too well.

Who was the first person you told of your decision?

It was my mum. She was so happy for me …she was like “Don’t worry; we will walk the journey with you”. She has been a great support system for me.

Is that the reason you decided to go under?

Partly, yes. I started thinking about it in 2011 but still continued doing secular music. Three years ago, I decided to call it quits. I even enrolled in a Bible School because I really yearned for a deep relationship with God. Away from music, I have been enjoying my life as a business woman. I have a hair brand – Diva Luxury – which specialises in crotchet hair extensions. I am very passionate about the African woman’s hair.

Are you happy now?

Yes, much, much happier. For a long time, I felt like I had been put in a box but now I feel free. Since I got born again, I can’t even start explaining to you how peaceful and grounded my life has become.

What are your plans? Do you intend to start writing/singing gospel songs?

Yes! But I can’t really tell how long it will take. It is one of those things that I want to go about as led by the Holy Spirit.

As a pastor’s daughter, why do you think their children turn wayward?

I wouldn’t call it wayward. But when you are being forced to conform to something that you don’t really understand, you will try to exert yourself – your personality. And in my perspective, the solution to that - as much as one is under the umbrella of being a pastor’s child - is they need to be encouraged to pursue a personal relationship with God as opposed to it being a routine.

Is it true that you finally got married!

Yes, I did – last year. I am very secretive and that was intentional. After being in the limelight for too long, I felt that there are some things I needed to keep to myself especially those that are dear to me. When you make your marriage public, there are families involved – his family and my family, I don’t want to put them out there. That’s just me though!

What is your favourite song to belt in the shower or when driving?

Israel Houghton’s “It’s not over until God says it’s over”. I also love “Tambarare” by Kenyan artiste Eunice Njeri.

Which gospel artiste are you eyeing to ‘collabo’ with?

To be honest, I haven’t thought about it. However, Eunice Njeri is my favourite gospel artiste.

Are you going to change your stage name “Amani”?

No, that stays. It means peace

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Friday, May 25, 2018

He celebrates his birthday daily

 

By Jackson Biko

The other day my friend Paul and I were at a bar talking about a friend of ours called Silas. He wasn’t even our friend; he was our friend’s last born, which means he was never really our friend.

Then we all grew up and we all became friends because after a certain age it doesn’t matter how much older you are. Then he fell sick and died 24 hours later.

It was freaky; he went to bed and never woke up again. Meningitis, apparently. He died very young – in his early 30s. But what a character, what charisma, what presence.

Even in childhood he had that thing about him. Everybody was drawn towards him, men and women. You wanted to know him. You wanted to talk to him longer. Women adored him. They flocked to him, sat at his feet, hung onto his words, hung onto his coat-tails and they would do anything for him.

And with him. It was amazing. We were reminiscing about him because there was a guy seated at the table next to us who had a small harem of striking women with him.

And they didn’t look like his sisters. Granted, it’s not uncommon to have many women at a man’s table but the energy at that table leaned towards him, like a centrifugal force.

He also had that energy of t There are chaps like that, who are born with that magnetism. They could go to a party not knowing one single person but at the end, everybody would know him. My university roommate was like that. Our room was a revolving door of women, most of them very beautiful, and if they were not beautiful they were very smart. At first I thought, how does he do it because he doesn’t even have any money like the rest of us?

We lived in a squat hovel that you couldn’t swing a cat in. He didn’t even have a bed! He slept on a mattress from the floor. Yet these beauties would come and spend the night on that floor! Then come back again! It didn’t take me long to figure out that it was his charisma, the ease with which he spoke to anyone regardless of who they were. He never judged anyone. He would flatter you, which meant you always were happy to see him. He also had an abundant, generous heart. Whatever he had, we would all share (money, not women). And I also noticed that because of his charisma the guys who had tons of cash but who couldn’t string a sentence to save their lives became his friends so as to get the crumbs that fell off his table, so to speak.

Although Silas was the quiet guy and my roomie was the loud guy who slapped backs, there was a third guy who had a different kind of charisma.

He used to play the guitar. Quiet guy, mostly. You would hardly hear his voice, unlike my former roommate who had a big laugh, always worked the room and was always at the centre of attraction. This one was a leopard; he hated attention. He walked the shadows with paws of cotton, never drawing attention to himself. You could be at a house party and then suddenly realise that the crowd in the house had thinned considerably. Going outside, in the backyard, you would find him playing a guitar surrounded by people holding their drinks. He was the type of guy that men would tell, “What’s your number, boss? Let’s do something.” These are the same guys who you will lend money again even though they haven’t paid the first debt. The guys who get business not because they can get the job done, but because they look like they can get the job done.

The same guys who somehow can get a woman to pay their rent. Or take a loan for them to start a business. Or leave all their friends for. They are the male version of the femme fatale.

And because of this, they never quite exert themselves to do anything because the will of the world tends to bends towards their slightest whims.

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Friday, May 25, 2018

Blending tradition with creativity

Part of the performances at the Haba na Haba

Part of the performances at the Haba na Haba dance festival. PHOTO | FILE 

By Salome Gregory

Dar es Salaam. Traditional and contemporary dances in Tanzania have for a long time lacked a platform to showcase the wealth that the country has in this genre in an industry that employs hundreds of thousands.

Most have settled for what everybody has to offer with very little time and creativity attached the choreograpgic elements which are key to any such performances.

In 2010 after Isaack Abeneko returned from Senegal, he and his former band members at Lumumba Theatre started free workshops on the subjects, it was at thses discussions that the value, goals and training of African contemporary dance, and methods came up.

Contemporary dance is a genre of dance performance that developed during the mid 20th century and has since grown to become one of the dominant genres for formally trained dancers throughout the world, with particularly strong popularity in the US and Europe.

It was through the influences that he had gathered in Senegal that convinced Isaack Abeneko to start a traditional and contemporary dance festival in Tanzania which he aptly named Haba na Haba.

Abeneko is a contemporary live performer, actor, dancer, guitarist and choreographer.

His music is delivered from various Tanzanian traditional dances, melodies and rhythms, blended with contemporary dance music to illuminate and inspire the next generation.

Speaking to The Beat, Haba na Haba as the artstic director Abeneko says, soon after he came from Dakar he shared what he had learnt there with Lumumba Theatre group. “With Lumumba Theatre Group we started with street presentations where by different people were trained on traditional and contemporary dance until when we found it ideal to start Haba na Haba festival in 2017,” says Abeneko.

He says, the main objective of coming up with the Haba na Haba festival was to provide contemporary dance performances in both indoor and outdoor spaces, reaching new audiences in the local community, and increase the value of contemporary dance as well as providing professional training to local dancers.

The festival which takes place indoors brings together great traditional and contemporary dance performances from a number of different groups from local and international artists and dance groups.

He says, Haba na Haba is a free event which gives a two weeks intensive dance workshop for beginers and advanced before workshop days and later followed up by two days of performances.

Commenting on the festival line up the Haba na Haba managing director Shabani Mugado says, the dance performances preceded by a line up of visual art activities including Children’s Art Classes.

The line-up included ChapChap Nature Body Painting, A Public Art Workshop which used the body as a canvas to create beautiful works of art inspired by nature, and the highlight of the night, Mama and Home Exhibition which was opened by Resident artist Walter Simbo Urasa.

He says a total of 13 groups performed at the festival. The grouops were 21st century, Chemli shine dance (Tanzania), Face Off by Ibuka dance foundation (Tanzania), You are welcome to stand at my place (Rwanda/Tanzania), White Wolf by DDI (Tanzania), Nyarero cultural group (Rwanda/Tanzania), Msimamo dance group (Tanzania), Mwili katika nyakati za mwisho by Yolanda Gutiérrez, The fabric of the universe by Benedetta Reuter (Germany/Italy), My white painting by Aloyce Makonde(Tanzania), Inside out by Samuel Ekeh (Lagos) and Shout by Nantea dance company.

On the first night six groups presented including Chemli, Face off and Nyarero cultural group rocked the indoors stage.

Chemli brought a story about how many people around the world have no idea what opportunities are around them and how they should be grateful and closer to them when they reach at their work place.

Shine dance Tz brought legendary story with traditional dance and songs from Tanzanian tribes with contemporary dance and bright light called Chemli (Chalwyn lamp).

Face off looked into the different faces we pick just so us to fit into society. We are required to talk, dress and behave in certain ways without which we become outcasts.

These labels according to them become part of our many identities and without them we tend not to function properly.

Face off brought a story of how often we find ourselves assuming different characters in our daily lives in order to be able to fit in society.

We are shaped and programmed so we find ourselves wearing one face to ourselves and another to the public but eventually we give into what might be the truth.

Haidary Chumambili is a group leader of Shine dance Tanzania. Commenting on the festival he says, he is happy that soon after their performance he got an opportunity of exchanging mobile numbers with different people in the musici indusrty.

“It was a very good opportunity for me and the group to show our work to the audience. However I would call upon organizers to add more of traditional groups and bring a balance between contemporary dance and traditional groups,” says Chumambili.

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Friday, May 25, 2018

Search bridging the talent gap digitally

Contestants hold their breath for the final

Contestants hold their breath for the final announcement. PHOTO I SALOME GREGORY 

By Salome Gregory

Dar es Salaam. It has been a long time since you last heard of a talent search in the country and the memories are sometimes nostalgic as they gave birth to some of stars that we have today.

Unlike 10 years ago, the advent of digital technology now means things have to be done digitally as opposed to the long queues that participants had to brave to get to the auditions.

On that night, 15 young men and women seeking for a career in music had gathered at the ‘Imba na Mimi, to present their work for adjudication.

To some, this is a chance of a life time, and no wonder applications flooded the account but they had to make a choice to come up with the finalists.

The contest which is conducted through the social media has two phases, the first one took place early in January.

Contestants were required to tag their recorded audio or video of them singing on Instagram, Whatsapp number, Facebook or Twitter under ‘Imba na Mimi’ account.

Speaking to The Beat, the project coordinator Emmanuel Stephen says, phase I was a pilot phase which aimed at creating awareness to get the clear image of the contest that leads to phase II which is set to take place soon after the Holy Month of Ramadhan.

According to organisers ‘Imba na Mimi’ contest aims at discovering young and raw talents in music from people aged 18-40 years old in Tanzania.

Emmauel Stephen the project director who is also the contest’s coordinator says the contest is organized by Cam studio under One Love Unit TZ an organization deals with organizing different entertainment gigs in the country.

“I decided to come up with Imba na Mimi contest after I realized a lot of music talent was being left out just because they have no right platform to practice their music,” he says.

Through the contest the young men will be paired experienced musicians who will take them through the ropes of the trade.

Participants came from different places in Tanzania such as Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, Sengerema, Geita, Morogoro and Arusha.

All the 15 participants were live on stage and after a gruelling contest six were selected for the second round which will usher them into the second phase of the which will bring together between 20 to 30 participants.

They came face to face with two judges namely singer Belle 9 and Edward Lusala who had the daunting task of sending home more than half of the contestants.

Participants from Dar es Salaam were the toast of the day given their home ground advantage as they were cheered on by a rather handsome audience that was in attendance.

They included Rodgers Raphael, Daniel Alone and Christopher Sise,but none were named in the final six who will be joining the second phase.

And when the winners’ list was announced Chazz Barton, Rodgers Raphael,Daniel Alone, Christopher Sise, Tumaini Mrema and Tusa Victor emerged on top.

Commenting on the criteria used to select winners judge Lusala says, as experts thye had a particular criteria and according to them the contestant had to be unique.

“All of the top six contestants had qualities of being winners but just small elements in the music industry decided the day,” he says.

According to him, one can be a good musician but just one element can favour the other person.

“We were also looking at originality, vocal range specifically how can one remain in the key during the entire song presentation without going off key, and because it was a live show, stage and crowd management also mattered. We also looked at creativity too, “ says Lusala.

Chazz, phase I winner is a painter who paints peoples pictures for a fee of up to Sh80,000 depending on the customers agreement.

He says, he came to learn about Imba na Mimi contest through his friend Rodgers who emerged first runner up. Rodgers, tagged him on Imba na Mimi contest post and he decided to send his video singing ‘Heaven’ by Banky W.

“Soon my video was reposted by @imbanamimi page I knew I will get an opportunity to participate in the contest. Being announced as a winner left me in a shock as the contest had people who were hugely talented. I thank God for that and I am getting ready for phase II,” says Chazz.

During the first round Chazz sang his own composition titled ‘Me na Wewe’ which is yet to be officially released and his second song was by ‘Ipo Siku’ by Goodluck Gozbert.

Tusa Victor, is a Finance student at Mzumbe University. She says, through a friend who sent her information about the contest via her phone she applied by posting her video on instagram page with a song called Sitabaki Kama Nilivyo by Joel Lwaga.

Given her tight timetable at the University, it was not easy for her to come in Dar es Salaam, so the Imba na Mimi team had to visit her in Morogoro and record her work Read all about it by Emeli Sande at the Digital Vibes studio.

The competition has some strict guidelines, for a contestant to qualify, one must be living in Tanzania, must be ready to learn and be involved in the trainings, proper dress code, and if the contestant is a student, must consider and follow the Imba na Mimi timetable without affecting it otherwise will be disqualified. The contestants must be free to travel and stay away from his/her home. Stephen they spent about Sh21million from their pockets. But they are working hard to get partners and supporters like online radios and TV’S, established artistes, Radio and Tv presenters, DJ’s that can help to spread the news about Imba na Mimi and expand the network.

He says, Imba na Mimi spent a week taking the selected contestants to a professional studio to a recording 1 minutes audio clip and studio version video clips for everyone that will was posted and shared on Imba na Mimi social media pages for promotions .

The contest also used Tripple Malengo Limited voting system, voters were charged Sh200 for a single vote during the contest through the special numbers.

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Friday, May 18, 2018

Celebrity merchandise and misplaced priorities

 

By Paul Owere @TheCitizen powere@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. There were days when fans would proudly hoard vinyl records or proudly display their CD collections, these days, as technology renders obsolete any physical manifestation of such interests, merchandise allows consumers to own a piece of a celebrity’s world.

In a world where digital music now being seen as more of a throwaway commodity, fans are substituting it for a more physical, tangible product as a way to connect and be closer to the artist.

In the midst of dwindling album sales –mainly due to massively disruptive streaming services – live concerts and tour merchandise have become an increasingly significant part of the business model for artistes.

The subsequent frenzy that surrounds the release of such merchandise can be extraordinary and quite loud at certain times.

Despite being a new phenomenon in the developing world it is catching up in Tanzania with several artists signing up for all sorts of merchandise from confectionery to energy drinks.

This year will go down as one of a kind when crooner AliKiba scored on multiple fronts, first was the dream wedding in Mombasa which was followed by a reception in Dar es Salaam a fortnight later.

Then came the launch of his energy drink, ‘Mofaya’ which by all accounts caught many by surprise, he had once again pulled a clever move on his fans and the industry all together. The media has been on an overdrive to promote the drink which according to him is canned in South Africa but with prospects of opening up a factory in Tanzania.

AliKiba like any other businessman is quite upbeat about his latest creation just as he has been about his music, for he is targeting the larger East African regional market.

Speaking at a local radio station Times FM the Mvumo wa Radi singer said it was a process that took them a whole year to finally come up with the drink which he owns its rights in East and central Africa.

Though not yet available in the market the crooner says they have already received hundreds of applications of agents who would wish to supply the drink locally.

This was not the first time that a local celebrity had launched a product, from Idris Sultan’s shoe range to Diamond’s Chibu perfume; it is now trend that is catching.

The question that immediately raised comes to mind is whether AliKiba’s energy drink Mofaya has the star power and influence to change consumer choices or even at its best last on the shelves long enough to attract corporate investment.

Consumer behavior is one of the most difficult things to change and as it stands the drink will have to shove its way into what already seems like a saturated market with many such products locally manufactured.

In January 2016, Tanzanian super model Flavianna Matata launched Lavy a nail polish line becoming the first celebrity in her line of trade to launch a personalised polish.

“It has been a two year journey for me to make it a success. Of course I could not have made it my own so I decided to reach out to my few friends who are experienced in processing these kinds of products. I had a difficult time when I was trying to come up with a color that would be sort of unique and bright and also the people that I expected to help me weren’t really accommodating so that’s why I have few friends.” She said then.

The product was soon available at Zuri Cosmetics, Pikasso salon and Shear Illusion. those who have tried it have had good things to say about it though it remains just that - a celebrity product.

In 2015 another Tanzanian celebrity and former Miss Tanzania Wema Sepetu launched a lipstick line which she christened ‘Kiss by Wema Sepetu’.

It became an instant hit with the controversial beauty queen instantly hitting One Million followers on Instagram.

Despite the early vibe that was followed the luxurious inauguration on her birthday where she was handed a Range Rover as a present, the lipstick it remained more of a celebrity affair.

In 2012 when Jokate Mwegelo’s rivalry with Wema which dates back to their days at Miss Tanzania was still hot, the actress unveiled the Kidoti Brand, one that has gone on to deal with designs and a hair line to compliment.

Market analysts say: If that name is regurgitated in the media, it sets up demand. The biggest driving force in what makes a consumer purchase a celebrity item is whether the star has the influence. This is perhaps one factor that has helped ‘Diamond Karanga’ to excel though some say it has only managed to do so because right from the beginning it was meant to be a mass product targeting low income earners.

Misplaced priorities can be costly in business and this could be the case with many of these celebrity merchandise that fail to identify their consumers.

We are yet to get any figures of how many of these products that have graced the market in the past five years have done but word out there suggests that many are not doing great.

From Shilole’s chili sauce, Wema’s ‘Kiss’ lipstick ,Diamond’s Chibu Perfume none of these products have managed to become a mass product. After the frenzy that followed the post launch period many of these products went into oblivion some with no trace because such products lack the longevity of classic brands to enable them stay on the shelves.

And as they say, there is a difference between coping with fate and inviting danger, the failure of a certain song to become a hit single cannot be the same as failure of a business venture.

It remains interesting on what seductive marketing techniques AliKiba is going to use to beat competition and change the consumer mindset that is already rooted at the market place. Those in the know admit that when the market is saturated, people’s attention span tends to be limited.

But even as bleak as it might be, it has been proven that artists can use these merchandising avenues as a way to bring in income.


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