The island of Zanzibar in Tanzania hosted the 14th edition of the renowned annual Sauti za Busara music festival, bringing together an amazing talent from across the African continent, and what a celebration of music and dance it was.

After a yearlong hiatus Zanzibar’s favourite music festival, came back with a bang, featuring 40 bands with over 400 artists on three different stages over four days. The festival is certainly growing in leaps and bounds.

Held under the theme #AfricaUnited, the festival shined its spotlight on high quality, 100% live African music, including traditional sounds and up and coming artists.

Cocodo African Music Band (TZ) at Sauti za Busara 2017 Photo: Masoud Khamis/ Sauti za Busara (official)/Flickr

This year’s festival, was certainly quite engaging, with acts from artists including Bob Maghrib (Morocco), Mcharuko Band (Zanzibar), Ze Spirits Band (Tanzania), H_art the Band (Kenya), Madilisto Band (Malawi), Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band (Ghana), Karyna Gomes (Guinea-Bissau) and many others.

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The festival was well attended and about 6,000 festival goers from different nationalities flocked nightly to the Old Fort in Stone Town, Zanzibar, to experience the electric atmosphere. The Forodhani stage was especially popular with young people and local families who gathered to enjoy diverse sounds against the backdrop of spectacular sunsets, according to the festival’s organisers.

H_art the Band (Kenya) at Sauti za Busara 2017 Photo: Rashde Fidogo/ Sauti za Busara (official)/Flickr

Yusuf Mahmoud, festival director said shortly after the event, “Through the language of music Sauti za Busara showed the world Africa is positive, Africa is full of hope, full of joy, culturally rich and diverse”.

“For the past week thousands of people in Zanzibar and across the world witnessed the power of music to promote peace, friendship and unity. I am deeply grateful to all the festival artists and crew, to the people of Zanzibar, the sponsors, media partners, to everyone who attended and contributed to its success,” Mahmoud added.

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The festival brought together from around the country and African region musicians, and artists, exposing the public to a great mix of local, and regional artists.

Rocky Dawuni (Ghana) at Sauti za Busara 2017 Photo: Rashde Fidogo/ Sauti za Busara (official)/Flickr

Many festival goers said this was the best Sauti za Busara festival witnessed to date, with a fantastic and diverse music programme featuring high quality sound and lights.  Many also noted that the festival was very well organized with everything running smoothly and on time.

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This year, Busara Promotions partnered with Emerson’s Zanzibar Foundation to officially launch the first annual Emerson’s Music Awards (EZMA) honoring the best performance by a Zanzibari artist from a local group entered in the 2017 Sauti za Busara 2017 lineup. The award went to Gora Mohamed, a Ganun player in Matona’s G Clef Band, who took home the 1,000 USD prize including a special trophy, framed certificate, and a post-award celebration hosted by the Emerson Spice Hotel.

Sauti za Busara is bound to return next year on February 8-11, 2018, and to those who missed out on this year’s festival, next year you can’t afford to miss out on Sauti za Busara.

Highlights from the festival

Tausi Women’s Taarab (ZNZ) at Sauti za Busara 2017 Photo: Link Reuben/Sauti za Busara (official)/Flickr
Taarab – Kidumbak Group (ZNZ) at Sauti za Busara 2017 Photo: Link Reuben/ Sauti za Busara (official)/Flickr
Usambara Sanaa Group (TZ) at Sauti za Busara 2017 Photo: Link Reuben/ Sauti za Busara (official)/Flickr
Roland Tchakounté (Cameroon) at Sauti za Busara 2017 Photo: Peter Bennett/ Sauti za Busara (official)/Flickr
Busara crew on stage at Sauti za Busara 2017 Photo: Rashde Fidogo/ Sauti za Busara (official)/Flickr
Imena Cultural Troupe (Rwanda) at Sauti za Busara 2017 Photo: Link Reuben/ Sauti za Busara (official)/Flickr

 

Karyna Gomes (Guinea Bissau) at Sauti za Busara 2017 Photo: Peter Bennett/ Sauti za Busara (official)/Flickr
Simba & Milton Gulli (Mozambique) at Sauti za Busara 2017 Photo: Rashde Fidogo/ Sauti za Busara (official)/Flickr
Imena Cultural Troupe (Rwanda) at Sauti za Busara 2017 Photo: Link Reuben/ Sauti za Busara (official)/Flickr
Imena Cultural Troupe (Rwanda) at Sauti za Busara 2017 Photo: Masoud Khamis/ Sauti za Busara (official)/Flickr