DCMA students rejoice during rehearsal on verandah
Greetings from Zanzibar!
With the holiday season just around the corner, the DCMA would like to extend our warmest wishes to our entire DCMA family.
This year has been a musical rollercoaster of triumphs and challenges. Without your support and love, we would not have been able to keep our doors open and we truly appreciate each and every one of you who have contributed to our campaign, “Help us keep Zanzibar’s only music academy open!”
While we didn’t reach our $70,000 goal yet, we are completely grateful that we reached over $13,000 and plan to continue with our campaign into 2020. With your contributions, we were able to keep the music flowing through our historic halls and accomplished so much toward our mission to protect, preserve and promote Swahili culture through music.
- Just a few days ago, on Dec. 15, we hosted a concert called “Sudan Meets Zanzibar,” featuring a fusion of Sudanese and Zanzibari music with guest musicians from Sudan, Nuha Elsadig Ahmed Hussien (singer) and Hassan Elmahi Hussein Mahgoub (guitar).
- In late November, we were proud to send Siti & The Band to Morocco to perform at Visa for Music, one of the largest, professional music festivals and markets on the continent. Many members of this award-winning band are former and current DCMA students, teachers and staff, and their critically-acclaimed performance came as no surprise!
- Our students continue to thrive in 2019. Christopher Anthony, who recently learned to play the flute as his second instrument after guitar, credits the DCMA with his success as a professional musician. Known as “Tofa Boy,” he established Mcharuko, one of Zanzibar’s most promising bands and continues to call the DCMA his musical home. “I’m very grateful for the existence of DCMA, I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for it. DCMA has changed me,” Tofa Boy said. Like many DCMA students, Tofa Boy started with humble beginnings. He grew up in the small village of Kitope, Zanzibar, without much direction in life. With his love for music, his family encouraged him to check out the DCMA, where he found inspiration from his teacher Abeid, a brilliant guitar player. For years, Tofa Boy woke at 6 a.m. to put the goats to pasture before making the 1-hour commute to Stone Town to study music. His love of music motivated him to find a job to pay for his expenses as a music major. With dedication, Tofa Boy began to perform with DCMA’s taarab groups at concerts and festivals. “There are loving people and teachers who enabled me to become a musician. I hope that more people can hear about it and join, especially those from the streets, with problems. They should be able to come to DCMA and change themselves,” Tofa Boy said.
- We are also grateful to receive a small grant from the German Embassy in Tanzania to continue our free concert series and jams that bring traditional music to the people of Zanzibar. Asante sana!
- Let’s give it up for Tarajazz, Siti & the Band, and Mapanya Band — all bands with roots at the DCMA — who will grace the stages at Sauti za Busara music festival in 2020. Set right here in Zanzibar, this is East Africa’s friendliest music festival under African skies. Congratulations!
The DCMA continues to work hard to raise the necessary funds to continue to keep our doors open. Please help us spread the word that we are trying to reach $15,000 by Dec. 31, 2019.
Help us get there by participating in our 2019 Year-End Campaign, Dec. 4-Dec. 31. Follow us on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) to continue to #FollowTheMusic.
Happy Holidays & Much Love from the DCMA!
"Tofa Boy" comes from a small village in Zanzibar.
"Tofa Boy" learned to play flute at the DCMA.
A DCMA student masters the traditional qanun.
Siti & the Band rehearses before a show.
Sudanese musical guests perform at the DCMA.