- The globally acclaimed extravaganza kicks off on February 12 at the Old Fort featuring breathtaking performances on two nights from 14 groups (11 from Tanzania and 3 from the rest of Africa).
Zanzibar. The annual Sauti za Busara festival is days away and Stone Town and its environs are in an expectant mood as organizers lay final touches to the preparations.
The globally acclaimed extravaganza kicks off on February 12 at the Old Fort featuring breathtaking performances on two nights from 14 groups (11 from Tanzania and 3 from the rest of Africa).
Selecting from some of the best Tanzanian and African groups and artistes, this year’s edition features groups that mostly will be performing at the iconic Ngome Kongwe for the first time.
According to the festival director Yusuf Mahmoud there is plenty to look forward to at this year’s edition from the selected artists who illuminate Tanzania’s diversity together with other parts of Africa.
“Over the years audiences have come to expect something unique and fresh from our selection team and that is why we believe this year’s line-up is up to the task, for it is truly African and it is as we have always said music with identity,” said the festival director.
He adds: The selection process has taken into considerations travel restrictions being imposed by different countries leading to the majority of groups this year representing Tanzania.
According to Mr Mahmoud, the selected artists such as DullaMakabila, MsafiriZawose, TaraJazz, Siti Muharam and Vitali Maembe represent some of the Tanzania’svery best potential musical exports to the world.
“There have been some cancellations due to travel restrictions and lockdowns that many countries imposed to curb the spread of the pandemic,” he said.“We thank Tanzanian leaders for fully supporting our decision to go ahead with the festival. Our first priority is the safety of local people, international visitors and everyone close to the event. We urge people to wash hands regularly, sanitize and stay as safe as possible. We do not plan to enforce wearing of masks or social distancing, but recommend people do both”. Finally, he added, “the situation is being constantly monitored and reviewed. Time will tell if people show up in large numbers. If people prefer to stay at home, we respect and understand their decisions to do so.”
Mr Mahmoud also said the festival brings an economic boost to the islands with millions of dollars injected into the economyand hundreds of local people getting direct or indirect employment.
Speaking on the upcoming event, festival manager Journey Ramadhani said Sautiza Busara promotes Zanzibar and Tanzania across the world, it also attracts international promoters, giving opportunities for our musicians to share their work with global audiences.
”Since 2004 when the festival opened its doors, our focus has been to showcase music that is unique and with cultural identity. We have consistently demonstrated there is a market and demand for new, exciting and original sounds that are uniquely local,” he said.
The 2021 edition will serve as a platform from which artists and audiences around the world will join hands to reflect on some of the critical environmental issues that affect the planet.