December 31, 2010

Passing down Zanzibar's Musical Traditions (CNN)

"This music is something that reminds you of a lot of things. To know yourself, where you are coming from, which way you need to behave. For us music is not only for the joy, it is for education, social matters and politics," Matona said.

Taarab's precise origin is often debated but whether it be in Egypt or East Africa, Matona says the island's version is distinct.

"Although we play taarab it is not like the Egyptian because the way we speak is different, the way of our ideas, the way of our teaching. This taarab is from Zanzibar."

Check out the whole story on CNN


December 17, 2010

Swahili Proverb of the Day #11

"Kamba inakatikia pabovu"

This means that there is rottenness in the rope; meaning, that when there is a weakness in the rope, all the blame will go to the weak person.


December 16, 2010

Pambazuka - Kenya’s new port: The end of Lamu's cultural heritage?

Pambazuka - Kenya’s new port: The end of Lamu's cultural heritage?

"Landing on Lamu Island is akin to taking a step back in history. One of the original settlements along the East African coast, the town has retained its rich stone architecture and traditional Swahili culture. Donkeys trot along one of the two main streets of the town, by the water's edge, laden with heavy sacks. In the town square, residents and visitors perch on stone benches drinking tea until late at night and listening to the local news on the radio. The town has few cars, the most prominent being the rusty three-wheel ambulance parked close to the town's donkey hospital. Hundreds of fishermen eke out a living at sea with their traditional boats."


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