Music and dance
Hildegard Kiel, Yusuf Mahmoud
As you wander around Zanzibar Town, you will hear calls to prayer from the many mosques but you will also hear the sounds of American rap music and Jamaican reggae. Around the next corner, however, you are also likely to hear film music from India or the latest chart-toppers from Egypt and the Gulf States. Thankfully the islands have not entirely lost their own cultural traditions, and equally popular in Zanzibar are local musical forms, in particular the style known as taarab
Some of the local music that you might hear whilst exploring Stone Town include:
Zanzibar has been at the crossroads of trade routes for thousands of years. People of Africa, India, Iran, China and other parts of Asia and the Arab world have all played their parts in influencing the this form of traditional music.
Born in the suburb of Ng'ambo, a lower-class living area where poorer families live – is the home of kidumbak
, which is a less refined and more upbeat version of Taarab.
This brass band music originated around the end of the 19th century as a mockery of colonial style military bands.
Ngoma literally translated means 'drum' and is a term used to encompass all local African traditional forms of dancing, drumming and singing.
Bi Kidude is one of the islands most famous singers. Now well into her 90s, she has performed with Siti bint Saad, toured the world and has sold thousands of cassettes.
Undoubtedly a pop-phenomenon, (and therefore ephemeral) this is a modern style of taarab, called rusha roho
Then for information on where to seek out some examples of this look at:
venues and recordings