Sauti za Busara transforms through exchanges and partnerships

Sauti za Busara festival will take place from 12 – 15 February 2015 in Zanzibar. During this period 150 festival crew are directly employed, of which 90% are Tanzanians. All are paid salaries and developing skills year on year. Parallel to the festival, Busara Promotions hosts artistic and technical training, seminars for musicians, arts managers, media professionals, film makers, music promoters and other cultural practitioners.

Busara social media workshop. Photo: Peter Bennett
Busara social media workshop. Photo: Peter Bennett

This year’s festival theme is ‘Together as One: Amani ndio Mpango Mzima’. “Through Sauti za Busara’s live music and film programme, workshops and fringe activities, the festival plays an important role in Zanzibar - to counter xenophobia, to build peace, unity and respect for diversity.’’ said the Festival Director, Yusuf Mahmoud.

Famously, all artists participating at Sauti za Busara perform ‘100% Live’. Local artists who are traditionally inclined to play back performances get challenged to raise the level of their shows. Alikiba (TZ) and Rico Single (ZNZ) are both currently preparing unique shows for festival visitors. Octopizzo, their Kenyan counterpart is also set to perform with a live band at this 12th edition. Tanzania and East Africa can be proud of this platform where local artists get to display quality work on the world stage alongside renowned artists like Blitz the Ambassador from Ghana/USA and Isabella Novella from Mozambique who are also set to rock the Old Fort in Zanzibar’s Stone Town during the festival. Other local artists who have also sharpened their tools for trade include Msafiri Zawose,  Leo Mkanyia, Ifa Band, Zee Town Sojaz, Mabantu Africa, Tunaweza Band and many more.

In Africa, opportunities for skills-building and training in the creative sector are scarce. Sauti za Busara therefore hosts internships for young East Africans, with skills development training, and opportunities for locals to network with visiting arts professionals. As project partner in the African Music Development Programme (AMDP), Busara Promotions conducts this year again two major trainings that will see over 100 Tanzanians enhance their skills in Stage Management and Media. In addition, Busara Promotions host young African festival professionals and music students for 2-month work placements with the festival team; students from Germany will come to the festival for the purpose of a study visit. AMDP is led by the International Music Council and implemented in partnership with festivals, music organisations, universities and NGOs in Cameroon, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

This major initiative aims to support the music sector in Africa through a series of targeted actions with the purpose of increasing job opportunities. The programme benefits from the financial contribution of the European Union and the assistance of the ACP Group of States.

A critical factor for Sauti za Busara’s success is the festival is a shared experience between visitors and locals. Local people are more confident in their culture and the fact it must be special, because visitors come from all over the world to see it. International visitors know they are experiencing something authentic and unique, as they enjoy African music shoulder to shoulder with the people of East Africa.

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