« East Africa is opening up to the world » : accompanying and observing a process
A collaboration between Anna Cuomo, French anthropologist, and Malik Sufiani, Tanzanian event curator
This initiative aims to showcase and document Tanzanian urban music in France and Europe at large. Despite the big numbers of followers of Tanzanian music in the country and the East African region, these artists are less represented in the European scenes, compare to West and Central African music. Congolese music for exemple is now very popular in France because of a new generation of French artists with Congolese origin who succeeded by imposing their music tastes and influences.
In France, talking about African music presupposes generally West African music. There is a gap to be bridged in the knowledge of East African culture in France and Europe at large. Moreover, globalization’s context does not imply the same access to information and music all over the world. Generally, connections between different contexts (music, cultures) depend on the establishment of older historical networks and diaspora.
Bridging the Gap project is the answer connecting between artists and new audiences.
Tanzanian’s music was drawing on a multitude of influences appropriate over decades due to a unique national context and geographical crossroads position (Africa, India and Arabic worlds). The country, with more than 123 tribes connected under one common language, Swahili, led to collective of different rhythms and melodies. It has been leading for a large number of music bands/groups and venues for decades in East Africa.
Urban music in Tanzania maintains its rich specificities fusion with stimulation of traditional music and languages such as Indian and Arabic influences. These specificities constitutes a culture which needed to be showcased in France for its richness and diversity. Currently, Tanzania urban music contributes a lot in terms of social, political and economical growth to the region. Apart from that Tanzanian artists are now influence to Congolese and Nigerian artists with a massive collaborations musically.
PRESERVATION AND SHOWCASE
Instead of seeing preservation as a way to fix music in categories, we prefer to see preservation as a tool to document and follow the evolution of music in context, which is constantly changing. We want to preserve in documenting the movement both video and still pictures for exhibition plus discussion.
Nowadays, skilled artists fromTanzania wish to expand and perform abroad due to a large number of fan base back in Tanzania and East Africa region.So network and promotions is highly needed in order to be exposed into other part of the world. Therefore our mission is to create new showcasing spaces in order to facilitate encounters and collaborations, which are essential to the enrichment of any creative culture.