VISION “A vibrant East African music industry prominent on the world stage”
in brief Busara Promotions was set up as a cultural NGO in Zanzibar in 2003. With core funding support from the Ford Foundation, it has enjoyed enormous success in keeping to its mission.
MISSION “to promote and develop opportunities for local and international music and performing artists within the East African region, work to strengthen the local arts infrastructure and build networks internationally, for the social, cultural and economic growth of Africa and the dhow region”
main activities The NGO’s main event each year is the Sauti za Busara music festival. This now enjoys an international reputation as “the friendliest festival on the planet”, bringing people together in celebration of music from East Africa and beyond.
Sauti za Busara provides a platform for local musicians to experience music from other parts of the world, whilst introducing East African music to the visitors. In any society this kind of interchange is vital to the health and development of musical styles.
Sauti za Busara festival provides an example of an event designed to develop, in both locals and visitors, an appreciation of the uniqueness, wealth and diversity of music from the region. It shows there is a beauty in our traditional music, with employment and income to be gained in sustaining it.
Artistic and technical workshops and seminars have been a key element of Busara’s activity, aimed for musicians, media professionals, arts managers, technicians and cultural workers from the region. These workshops have helped to build knowledge and skills for the long-term cultural benefit of East Africa.
Busara has played an essential role in maintaining peace and stability in Zanzibar, through building intercultural understanding and respect. Furthermore, the festival brings a significant boost for the local economy. Government statistics show the number of visitors to Zanzibar in February has increased by more than 400% since 2003.
There do exist many challenges for the NGO, not least in sourcing multi-annual funding. A priority is to invest in sound, lighting and staging equipment; essential for producing a world-class festival, providing training opportunities for technicians from the East Africa region, and helping to move the NGO towards a more sustainable future.
ORGANISATIONAL VALUES Artist Centred
Busara Promotions exists for the promotion and development of musicians and therefore all of our organisational behaviours will be undertaken in with care and concern for their primary interests. Busara will focus on all artists, those who are established and those who are yet to be discovered and developed, particularly those living in disadvantaged communities.
Respect and Understanding
Busara Promotions will place equal emphasis upon respect for local culture and tradition and the integrity of artists. Recognising that there are intrinsic tensions between these two sets of stakeholders it is part of Busara Promotions mission to build understanding and mutual respect. Busara will also respect its staff members, Trustees and volunteers and recognise their major contribution to the achievement of our mission.
Diversity and Exchange
Busara Promotions will promote diversity with respect for the context of Zanzibar society. We will also promote exchange of cultures and traditions to promote understanding, peace and a pluralistic society. We do not allow discrimination in selecting artists, recruiting staff or crew on basis of race, gender, ethnicity, politics or religion.
Busara Promotions is proud of its roots in Zanzibar and the strong identity the festival has with these islands. However, Busara is committed to building regional networking among artists and a feeling of collective ownership for this regional festival.
Collaboration and Partnership
Busara Promotions wishes to collaborate with governments, corporate sector, donors, international NGOs, academia, and civil society as a whole but without compromising its independence of thought and actions.
Artists are of both genders and reflect the population at large. Our governance, staffing and artist selection processes should therefore reflect gender balance and equity.
Transparency in major decision making is critically important. When selecting artists for the final programme, when reviewing the management accounts, budgets and expenditures, when dealing with new staff recruitment, salaries and benefits; it is important to be transparent with each other and other relevant stakeholders.
Achievements to Date 2003
Sidi Goma - African Sufis of Gujarat, June-July 2003
Zein al Abdin (Lamu/Mombasa) – Oud masterclass, Sept 2003
Sauti za Busara Swahili Music Festival, 13-15 Feb, 2004
Zenji Flava (Zanzibar Hiphop) Seminar, Zanzibar, May 2004
Training in Studio & Recording Skills for sound technicians from East Africa; Heartbeat Recording Studio, Zanzibar, August 2004
Bi Kidude msondo group – Performances in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa at Awesome Africa Festival, September 2004
Violin Masterclass for students from Lamu, Kenya at Dhow Countries Music Academy, Zanzibar, February 2005
Sauti za Busara Swahili Music Festival, 10-13 Feb, 2005
Participation of DCMA Kidumbak group and Wazenji Kijiwe (Zanzibar) at B-Connected Festival, Dar es Salaam, May 2005
Promotion for Nadi Ikhwan Safaa (Malindi Taarab) Centenary Celebrations, Zanzibar, July 2005
Sinachuki Kidumbak group and East African Melody participate in Lamu Cultural Festival, Kenya, November 2005
Jagwa Music (mchiriku from Dar es Salaam) showcase at WOMEX (World Music Expo), Newcastle, UK, October 2005
Supported performances of East African Melody and Sinachuki Kidumbak at the Lamu Cultural festival (Kenya), November 2005.
Sauti za Busara Swahili Music Festival, 9-14 Feb, 2006
Participation of Shirikisho Sanaa Group and Bz Broo (Zanzibar) at B-Connected Festival, Dar es Salaam, May 2006
On the road again, taking Bi Kidude and 6 Unyago dancers to Festival Mundial in The Netherlands in June 2006.
Kendwa Rocks 10th Anniversary Full Moon party featuring Matona & G-Clef Taarab, Shirikisho Sanaa, Sinachuki Kidumbak with Makame Faki, Bi Kidude, D-Knob, Spider, Jambo Brothers and Busara's Routes in Rhythm Soundsystem (Zanzibar) Sep 2006.
Hosted a roundtable forum on "Music, Festivals and Cultural Tourism" attended by Minister of Tourism and 40 delegates from Government, NGO, and private sector. Sep 2006
Bi Kidude with Unyago dancers, and Busara's "Where the music takes me" photographic exhibition –at GoDown Women's festival (Nairobi, Kenya) Oct 2006.
Culture Musical Club at ACP (African, Caribbean, Pacific states) festival in Dominican Republic. Also presenting paper on "Music Festivals and Cultural Tourism". Oct 2006
Sauti za Busara music festival, 9-14 Feb, 2007
Busara sponsored Wandima Tradition (Ngoma) and Huzaman to go to the B-Connected Festival in Dar in May 2007
With Fourth World records we produced a compilation CD+DVD of favourite artists of the Sauti za Busara festivals Sep 2007.
We accompanied Bi Kidude to a cracking gig in Maputo for the Dockanema Film Festival. Sep 2007
Sponsored studio time for Black Roots Cultural Group to record a couple of songs - and to help Zenji flava star Berry Black launch his new album, in Oct 2007
Prepared a “coffee-table” book celebrating the first five years of Busara Promotions - Dec 2007
Sauti za Busara music festival, 7-12 Feb, 2008
Sauti za Busara music festival, 12-17 Feb, 2009
Sauti za Busara music festival, 11-16 Feb, 2010
Sauti za Busara music festival, 9-13 Feb, 2019
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