Msafiri Zawose to tour Germany with Zawose Family

After successful solo performances in Kenya, Uganda and Egypt, Tanzanian Gogo musician Msafiri Zawose will be joined by the Zawose Family on the KlangWelten festival tour of Germany, which includes some 26 performances between 12 November and 20 December at various venues throughout the country.

Zawose Family on stage. Photo:
Zawose Family on stage. Photo:

One of Germany’s leading world music projects, the KlangWelten (translated as 'sound worlds') Festival takes fans on a musical journey through various cultures. Their motto, Der Utopie auf die Beine helfen ('to help put Utopia on its feet'), is also the central focus of this year's programme. The festival brings together stars of diverse musical scenes that are largely unknown in Germany but are nevertheless fantastic and worth listening to, while giving listeners insight into extraordinary soundscapes of the world, free from commercial interests.

The Zawose Family will sing and play likembe (finger piano), harp and violin to introduce their sounds to new listeners. The Zawoses have been a celebrated feature on the world music scene since the early 1990s. A multi-generational clan of musical masters who hold their culture strongly and sing with resounding harmony and unmistakable confidence, the Zawose Family embodies a wealth of cultural knowledge that seems harder and harder to find in an increasingly globalized Africa. One of the most intriguing nuances of their Wagogo music is a style of singing they call mganga: a type of overtone (or throat) singing that can also be found among the Tuva cultures of Mongolia in central Asia, though arguably quite rare in Africa. Achieved by constricting certain areas of the throat, mganga (or khoomei, as it is called in Tuva), creates a deep, growling voice that contains subtle harmonies and overtones.

Out of Hukwe Zawose's 20 children, Msafiri is among the well-known Gogo artist. After his father’s death in 2003, Msafiri took a break from the family to pursue his own career in music. His first single album, Dawale Chouya, was released in 2006, just before his first appearance at Sauti za Busara festival in 2007. These days Msafiri concentrates on his own music and building his own band; the Sauti band.


Besides Msafiri and the Zawose Family, Cameroonian jazz trumpeter Terrence Ngassa will bring the sound of Africa to German fans. Besides his well-established reputation as a jazz musician, Ngassa is also a fascinating voice in modern traditional music.

Beyond Africa, a trio of aborigines from Papua New Guinea will bring their harmonious sound of carved ukulele (guitar and bass) that will be accompanied by the beautiful three-part vocals. Also expected to perform is China’s Cheng Xing Fu and German harpist and multi-instrumentalist Rüdiger Oppermann. This year there is also a special programme theme dubbed 'Exkolonien', focussing on the Germany's colonial era. For information about KlangWelten or the book a ticket, visit the festival website.


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