Archive | May, 2012

Save the date: Jahazi Literary & Jazz Festival is in September!

29 May

Looking for a scintillating weekend of open-air jazz concerts, storytelling, poetry readings, free music and literary workshops, VIP dinners and the best after parties in town? Then book your flight and come and see us in Zanzibar!. Welcome to Jahazi Literary & Jazz Festival 2012!

Join us for a long and lazy weekend of literary and jazz delights featuring home grown and international talent, all ready to take center stage in the world heritage site of Stone Town, Zanzibar.

The rich diversity of festivalgoers, all looking for first class entertainment, enjoy being mentally stimulated by great debate, frank, and honest discussion. And so, to balance out the fun-side of our festival, the topical theme that highlights serious issues and encourages festivalgoers to take part in open debate and share their views is – ‘The current global economic state, its origin and relevance to Africa, and where should we go from here?’ – not to be missed!.

Remember, last year, Al Campos – singer, trombone player, songwriter, producer and arranger. He performs in the genres of Soul, Jazz, Funk & Salsa, with deep roots in Gospel music –

participated in the Festival in 2011 and made us the honour to be our guest at Kandili Villa where he wrote our jingle

and the tribute song for MV Spice Islander which sank while he was on the Island.

Hopefully he will be back this year and we are all eager to see and hear him again!

Friday 25 May 2012: Dhow Countries Music Academy Concert!

24 May

Get ready for Mwaka Kogwa Festival in the South East of Zanzibar, Makunduchi – 21 July 2012

23 May

One of the oldest traditional festivals is the celebration of Mwaka Kogwa. The festival marks the arrival of the new year, or ‘Nairuz’ according to the Shiraz (Iran) calendar. Shirazis were the first foreigners to settle in Zanzibar in any number, and many aspects of their culture were absorbed by the Swahili people and were given a local context.

The festival is celebrated in many parts of Zanzibar, but it is in Makunduchi, south-eastern Unguja , that the ancient rites are most enthusiastically and elaborately followed.  People flock to Makunduchi from all over Tanzania and beyond.

There are many different rituals involved in seeing out the old year, and welcoming the new one.  The Mwaka Kogwa usually lasts about four days.  However, it is the first day which is the most interesting and exciting.  In the centre of the town is Kae Kuu, a large, open space and it is here that the action starts at about 11 in the morning.

Two brothers from the southern part of Makunduchi take on two other brothers from the northern part in a ritual physical combat.

While fighting is going on, women (they not take part in the actual fighting) move around the field singing; dressed in their finest.  Their songs contain comments and messages about love and village life, and are mainly directed at the men in combat.  They sing in Kikae, a local Swahili dialect of Makunduchi. For instance; “msinikatia kanga Njama yangu haitende!” – meaning “he who does not buy me a new pair of khanga (a traditional Zanzibari piece of cloth) will not make love to me!”

When the fight is almost over and the combatants exhausted, a small coconut thatch pyramid-shaped hut is built at the eastern end of Kae Kuu.  A local magician goes inside the hut which is then set alight. With the flames roaring, the magician rushes out and throws himself unscathed into a nearby bush. Everyone around then, throw earth and stones on the fire to extinguish it. Thus it is believed, that if someone’s house should catch fire in the new year, there would be no loss of life.

People return to their homes to prepare for the feast after fighting has ended.  Celebrations continue on the nearby beach until the new year is well and truly welcomed.

High time to book for the 15th Festival of the Dhow Countries 7 – 15 July, 2012

14 May

The Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) is one of East Africa’s largest cultural events and usually takes place each year in July. ZIFF presents an exciting and varied programme of international films and videos, music, dance, drama and art exhibitions.

ZIFF is East Africa’s largest film, music and arts festival, bringing new talents together from all over the world for a Zanzibar Tamasha!

Each year, some of the most captivating and cutting-edge cinema from Africa and beyond is screened in venues across the island. From world-premiers to local shorts, we’ve got it all, with a long history of showcasing the highest quality film from all over the world. Films are submitted based on a yearly theme – this year is ‘Season of Visions’ – and entered into various categories and competitions. The final night is an awards night, where the winning films are recognised and celebrated.

ZIFF also puts on the island’s best parties. Live music, dance, DJs and performance across several venues means that carnival fever hits Zanzibar for 2 weeks! We bring musicians together from all over Africa, as well as recognised international acts.

A Zanzibar institution, ZIFF is a truly local festival, with exhibitions, workshops, and cultural tours that take you to the heart of the community. We promote local talent in film and music, showcasing new and old creative achievements. As ZIFF comes to town, so too do opportunities for recognising arts and crafts – the festival is always a hotbed of activity!

Maru Maru Hotel in Stone Town: another view on the old town

3 May

Set just behind the old fort and house of wonders, our 44 room hotel is a shining star in the labyrinth of stone towns’ best shopping district. Each room has all of the creature comforts you need to make your stay in zanzibar a truly memorable experience.

Maru maru has a rooftop terrace restaurant and lounge and is the perfect place to unwind. the 360* view is breathtaking and gives you a bird’s eye view of the city and the turquoise waters of the Indian ocean. South & North Indian cuisine is the specialty of the house as well as some of the islands best cocktails.  Sundowners at Maru Maru are legendary. Located off of our fountain courtyard, the restaurant offers a peaceful oasis from the city.

You can enjoy all of Maru Maru’s culinary delights in either the air-conditioned grand hall or sit under an umbrella by the tranquil fountain .