By Sauti za Busara Press
Published February 23, 2013
The 10th edition of the annual Sauti za Busara music festival (February 14-17, 2013) was filled with great music, fun surprises, and new connections.
Khaira Arby from Mali wowed the crowd with her strong vocals and beautiful melodies. To close her set she sang for her home country, which is currently in turmoil over the March 2012 coup by militant extremists. The extremists threatened Arby, saying that if she continued to sing, her tongue would be cut out. All of her instruments were smashed and other artists in Mali were threatened. Sauti za Busara also hosted a panel on censorship and music during the daily ‘Movers and Shakers’ sessions.
Closing the festival was the wonderful and moving performance by international superstar, Cheikh Lô. Lô hails from Senegal and performs a signature blend of semi-acoustic flavours from West and Central African, Cuba, and Spain. His strong voice and powerful music brought down the house.
One of the biggest and best surprises was the appearance of the legendary Bi Kidude with her band Zanzibar Unyago. Bi Kidude has performed at every Busara festival, but it was believed that she would have to miss this year because of her ill health. After performing one song and answering questions from the fans, she danced off-stage and Zanzibar Unyago continued with their show.
On Friday, DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra, Tanzania’s most beloved muziki wa dansi band, headlined. Their performance was spectacular, drawing huge crowds and showing the world some of what Tanzania has to offer.
Sauti za Busara was also thrilled that Mani Martin from Rwanda was able to perform after a recent motorcycle accident and problems with travel sponsorship. At the last minute, he and his band managed to travel to Zanzibar for his early evening show on Saturday. His superb performance confirmed that he is one of East Africa’s hottest emerging young talents.
Although the final number of attendees has not yet been totalled, ticket sales show that this was Sauti za Busara’s biggest year yet, fitting for a 10th anniversary. Record numbers congregated for the film programme, which featured the three full-length documentary films Benda Bilili!, Omar Sosa’s Souvenirs from Africa, and United States of Africa: Beyond Hip Hop. Merchandise sales were also high with some items being completely sold out.