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Taken from Music In Africa (Feb 09, 2021)

Vitali Maembe, Msafiri Zawose added to Sauti za Busara 2021 line-up

Tanzanian musician and activist Vitali Maembe and contemporary Gogo musician Msafiri Zawose have been added to the 2021 Sauti za Busara festival line-up.

by Lucy Ilado

Vitali Maembe and Msafiri Zawose
New Sauti za Busara additions Vitali Maembe and Msafiri Zawose.

The festival will take place on 12 and 13 February in Stone Town, Zanzibar. It will be broadcast live for the first time across Africa on Plus TV (DStv channel 294) from 9pm EAT.

The additions to the line-up follow the cancellation of South African rapper Yugen Blakrok's performance at the festival due to COVID-19 restrictions on international travel.

Maembe, who will perform on 12 February, has made a name for himself with his socio-political commentary as a composer, visual artist, teacher and counsellor. Known as Sauti Yetu ('Our Voice') among his fans, Maembe's songs challenge inequality and corruption in his country. His activism has seen him assaulted and arrested by the police on several occasions, although he has never been prosecuted. During last year's general elections, he was among those who contested for the Bagamoyo Pwani District parliamentary seat. The musician said the elections were marred with irregularities but took no legal action to challenge the results.

Meanwhile, Zawose, whose performance takes place on 13 February, will return to the festival for a fourth time after his debut in 2013. The internationally acclaimed musician is known for his Gogo compositions from Central Tanzania. Zawose, who plays the zeze, ngoma and xylophone, among other instruments, comes from the revered Zawose music family in Bagamoyo. His father, Hukwe Zawose, popularised Gogo through international tours and recordings with Peter Gabriel's Real World Records in the 1980s.

In April 2019, Msafiri Zawose was invited by the Beyond Music label to record with the organisation's artistic director and multiple Grammy-winning producer, Larry Klein, in Switzerland. Last year, he co-won the first Creativity Award of the Beyond Music Project, a social networking platform and music collaboration project.

"There have been some cancellations due to travel restrictions and lockdowns that many countries imposed to curb the spread of the pandemic," festival founder Yusuf Mahmoud said. "We thank Tanzanian leaders for fully supporting our decision to go ahead with the festival. Our priority is the safety of local people, international visitors and everyone close to the event. We do not plan to enforce wearing masks or social distancing, but recommend people do both, wash hands regularly, sanitise and stay as safe as possible.

He added: "We are excited about the partnership with Plus TV, which broadcasts on DStv, and we are sure this will enable audiences from near and far to enjoy the unique and magical features of this festival and Zanzibar in general."


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