Monday, April 13, 2015

Jazz workshop, performance and improvised 'jam' rocks the DCMA

The DCMA's Siti Binti Said Hall rocked as 4 guest musicians from Denmark and Poland involved all DCMA students, teachers and visitors in a thrilling and multi layered improvised musical 'jam' session.
The visiting musicians: Carl Winther on keyboard, Martin Ruhl on double bass, Radek Wosko on drums and Tomas Ulak on tenor sax had been invited to perform in Zanzibar and took the time to come to the DCMA to offer a workshop, performance and jam session for musicians, students and visitors on the island.
These highly accomplished musicians treated us to some of their own compositions - contemporary Jazz at it's finest, and interspersed the performance with explanations and detailed demonstrations to show the Zanzibar musicians how Jazz is composed and how improvisation weaves in and around the central melody and theme of a composition.
The audience asked many questions which were generously and thoroughly answered, and these answers were followed by musical demonstrations, enabled the Zanzibar musicians to gain a clear understanding of the complexity of layers which form a jazz composition.
The audience were clearly pleased and satisfied with the whole event and delighted to be involved in a wonderful and rousing improvised jazz session. Thanks go to Carl, Tomas, Radek and Martin for an electrifying and educational couple of hours of wonderful music.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Taarab to reach Zimbabwe

For the first time in history taarab music will make its way into Zimbabwe later this month.
The Taarab-Kidumbak Ensemble from the Dhow Countries Music Academy (DCMA) in Zanzibar is scheduled to perform in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, for six days, starting from April 28 to May 3.
DCMA Academic Director Professor Mitchel Strumpf, told the ‘Daily News’ that while taarab music has been successfully performed in India from 1928 with recording performances by the late singer Siti Bint Saad, together with numerous performances in Europe by the late Bi Kidude and instrumentalist Mohamed Issa Matona and others, this will be the first time this genre is making its way into the interior of Africa, as far south-west as Zimbabwe.
“Intra-African streams of music influence have had significant influence on the spreading of music traditions within Africa,” he said. “Examples are the spread of musical bow traditions that travelled with the Ngoni migration over one hundred years ago bringing these traditions from the South African coast to northern Malawi and southern section of this country,” he added.
Prof Strumpf also talked about the yodel-singing traditions of the short-statured people of the Congo spreading southward through sections of Central Africa, all the way to the Cape and even within Tanzania with Massai song traditions greatly influencing Wagogo vocal music.
“While these north-south musical migrations took place many years ago, there have been little similar east-west musical migrations,” the don said. This is why the historical concert tour by the Taarab-Kidumba Ensemble of the DCMA is so significant to their students and staff.
While Zanzibar music has been greatly affected by the music of the Portuguese from the 1500s to the 1700s, the Arab traditions from the 1700s to the 1900s and the European/American traditions (German, British and the United States) since 1900, the music of Zanzibar had little opportunity to influence other music traditions.
They are excited that now the taarab music of Zanzibar, which is greatly influenced by the café music of Egypt 150 years ago, will be brought to Zimbabwe for performances at the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA).
“To the best of our knowledge, this will be the first time taarab and kidumbak traditions of Zanzibar will be performed this far west of the East African coastline.
Ten musicians from here (DCMA) will make this historic safari and will offer four performances in Harare,” Prof Strumpf said.
The four performances will consist of two major concerts, a street show in the middle of Harare and a school workshop in taarab drumming, dance and song.
Further, the historic tour will be well documented. The DCMA hopes the concerts will help other people from Zimbabwe and elsewhere to learn more about their centre and the ‘greatness’ of the taarab-kidumbak traditions.