Friday, November 18, 2011

Warm souvenirs from Stone Town

Winter is settling in now in northern North America, and my cold feet are wishing for the warm Indian Ocean waters. Surfing the Internet in lieu of the sea, I re-discovered these lovely memories on the website of  the Sauti za Busara festival to share with our fans, along with our hopes to be returning there soon. Meanwhile the "Zanzibar" video has gone impressively viral, with 4,500 views in less than 2 months, and seen in unexpected corners such as Japan, India, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Dominican Republic, Finland and Serbia! We'll be playing it again and again as the snow starts falling.....

ABOVE: The Busara crew celebrates the grand finale of the festival on stage following Virunga's monumental closing performance. BELOW: Samba in full flight, accompanied by backup vocalist Teddy Sukami.

photo by Masoud Khamis

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Video of the Week: Zanzibar by East African Star Samba Mapangala

The Zanzibar video is getting great response! I sent out a press release last week and the YouTube view count jumped by 2500 in a couple of days, and it's still climbing. This posting by World Music Central should give the view count another quantum leap! The great camerawork by Adam Juma in Zanzibar and Patrick Ondiek in Nairobi, plus Andy Jones' kind donation of the Sauti za Busara footage of Bi Kidude, Samba and Awillo's patience and great good nature while filming, and Sam Epstein's skill in editing and resolving various technical issues, all contributed to the final, stunning results. Thanks to World Music Central for the coverage, and everyone else who has featured, shared, posted, and watched this great clip!

Video of the Week: Zanzibar by East African Star Samba Mapangala

Zanzibar is the second video from Samba Mapangala‘s latest album Maisha Ni Matamu (Life Is Sweet). Filmed in Zanzibar and Nairobi, the videoclip presents scenes of the island’s many charms: the mysterious alleys and bustling markets of Stone Town, the gorgeous beaches and quaint dhows of the Indian Ocean, colorful people and sensuous dancers. At the same time, it pays tribute to the venerable Zanzibari icon Bi Kidude and the annual Sauti za Busara music festival.
Alongside Samba’s sweet soaring voice, “Zanzibar” features a guest vocal by Awillo Mike of Kenya’s Ja-mnazi Afrika band, and a Congolese guitar solo by Zaiko Langa Langa’s Beniko Popolipo.
Samba Mapangala was born Congolese but it was in Kenya where Samba’s career took off. With Samba writing and singing songs in Congolese Lingala and Kenyan KiSwahili, his Orchestra Virunga rapidly became the top band in Nairobi.