In September 2015, I spent five days in Nairobi, Kenya. Our East African music collection needed refreshing so I spent my time hunting down the hotspots for CD outlets and music production and live performance.
The most memorable live performance was by Tanzanian Msafiri Zawose, master of the zeze a 10-string, harp lute. He’s leader and vocalist of his Sauti band, consisting largely of family members. Here they are giving Music Time in Africa a shout out before the show
Msafiri comes from a distinguished line of traditional Gogo musicians. His father Hugwe Zawose is a music legend for having introduced Tanzanian traditional music to world music markets by way of Peter Gabriel’s Real World label. Gogo people are known throughout the country for their rich music traditions. Msafiri and his band live in Bagamoyo, a coastal town in central Tanzania..
These pictures were taken during sound check Thursday night on the stage at Choices.
All three of these percussion instruments are played by Pendo H. Zawose, the only sister in the group. Ally O. Chacha is playing the jembe (left). Bahati J. Zawose (seated behind) is playing the ngoma Zamkono (tall drums) and drumset. Kennedy P. Matiga and Sajaly Sharif play lead and bass guitars (back left and right) and Barakha H. and Michael J. Zawose both play ilimbas (far right). Msafiri Zawose plays ilimba (to the right of Pendo) and zeze (lying on the floor). He is also lead vocalist.
After sound check we all went downstairs in the musicians’ lounge for the interview and shared a meal before the show. These pictures were taken by a member of the Ketebul Music team that filmed the interview. Msafiri is holding the zeze, amplified by a gourd resonator covered with mountain lizard skin.
Listen to the interview to meet Msafiri and get a taste of the majestic zeze and his Sauti Band sound. And a special thanks to Kasiva Mutua and Tabu Osusa for their support.