The Tausi Taarab Orchestra is the only all-female ensemble in Zanzibar. Moreover, the women who compose it do not just sing but also play all kind of instruments. Just over a decade ago, it was absolutely taboo for women in Zanzibar’s predominantly Muslim culture to play an instrument in public. Women only performed as singers in men’s orchestras, such as the legendary Bi Kidude. Everything changed thanks to Mariam Hamdani, the first woman from Zanzibar to work as a journalist for the Russian news agency TASS. As a matter of fact, in 2009 she founded the Tausi Taarab Orchestra, the first all-female group in the tradition of the classic Taarab style, thus revolutionizing this traditional genre.
Taarab is a blend of styles that reflect the diverse cultures of Zanzibar that come together in Swahili society. It combines elements from African, Arab, Indian and European cultures of indigenous people, ancient rulers, immigrants, travelers and colonial masters. As regards the instruments, the Arabic qanun and the oud, the violin, the cello and the accordion have been integrated into this musical form in order to create a delicious mix. In short, this concert is not to be missed under any circumstances!
We will open the evening with a film about the Tausi Taraab orchestra (7:30 p.m.). The concert will begin at 8:45 p.m.
- Maryam Mohammed Hamdani: qanun, artistic direction
- Muharram Mohammad Omar: vocals
- Rahma Hassan Ameir: violin
- Sayrat Ame Makame: accordion
- Sheria Issa Khamis Shifta: bongos, vocals
- Nawal Mlanao: soloist, gambusi, daf, darbuka