An Evening with Msafiri Zawose and the Sauti Band

Posted November 25th, 2015 at 11:04 am (UTC-5)
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Msafiri Zawose with zeze. Nairobi, Kenya. 09/10/15.

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.

IMG_0007The kayamba, a flat shaker made from millet, dry seeds, and mtopetope wood, is posed on top of the muhumeme drum. (Lower left and below)

IMG_0037The box-resonated marimba rests on a wooden frame (center stage).

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.

IMG_0036These are a few of the variants of the ilimba (thumb piano or mbira).

IMG_0034IMG_0033After 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.

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 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.

Heather Maxwell
Heather Maxwell produces and hosts the award winning radio program "Music Time in Africa" and is the African Music Editor for the Voice of America. Heather is an ethnomusicologist with a Ph.D. from Indiana University specializing in African Music. She is also an accomplished jazz and Afrojazz/Afrosoul vocalist and has been working, researching, and performing in Africa and the U.S. since 1987.

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Heather Maxwell produces and hosts the award-winning radio program “Music Time in Africa” and is the African Music Editor for the Voice of America. Heather is an ethnomusicologist with Doctorate and Master’s degrees from Indiana University specializing in African Music. She is also an accomplished jazz and Afrojazz/Afrosoul vocalist and has been working, researching, and performing in Africa and the U.S. since 1987.

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