Photos

25 Beautiful Photos From East Africa's Biggest Music Festival, Sauti za Busara

Zanzibar's famous Sauti za Busara ('Sound of Wisdom') festival is widely regarded as one of the best music festivals in East Africa.

Zanzibar's famous Sauti za Busara ('Sound of Wisdom') festival is widely regarded as one of the best music festivals in East Africa.


The festival returned earlier this month after failing to take place in 2016 due to a lack of funds.

Sauti za Busara's 2017 line-up included performances from Rocky Dawuni, Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band, Sarabi, Bob Maghrib, Simba and Milton Gulli, Jagwa Music, Karyna Gomes, Sami Dan & Zewd Band, Chibite Zawose Family, Rajab Suleiman & Kithara, Wahapahapa Band, Batimbo Percussion Magique, Kyekyeku, Grace Barbé and H_art the Band.

We sent photographer Nicky Woo to cover this year's festival and she came back with these incredible photos below.

Band member takes break after the opening parade of Sauti Za Busara 2017.

Little girls dress up to attend the opening parade.

Indigenous dancer during opening parade ceremony.

Dancers dress in ragged shorts & Blackface in commemoration/ode to the slaves of Zanzibar.

Beni Brass Band poses after the opening parade of Suati Za Busara.

Traditional band taking a break after the opening parade of Sauti Za Busara 2017.

Batimbo Percusssion magique from Burundi.

Bob Maghrib from Morocco

Bob Maghrib from Morocco

The crowd.

The crowd.

Mswanu Gogo Vibes form Tanzania.

H-Art the band had the most energy and joy of any the acts. Total crowd pleaser with their style!

H_art the Band.

Incredible performer! This is the first time that an East African concert series has invited so many different West African (Ghanaian) bands to perform. Kyekyku is a young guy from Ghana who makes traditional music fused with an incredible, dynamic performance. The crowd loved him!

Saturday night Ghananian band Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band. Wonderful!

Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band.

Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band.

Kyekyeku.

Saturday night Ghananian band Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band. Wonderful!

Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band.

Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band.

Sami Dan & Zewd Band.

Sarabi.

Ze Spirits Band.

Interview
Photo: Shawn Theodore via Schure Media Group/Roc Nation

Interview: Buju Banton Is a Lyrical Purveyor of African Truth

A candid conversation with the Jamaican icon about his new album, Upside Down 2020, his influence on afrobeats, and the new generation of dancehall.

Devout fans of reggae music have been longing for new musical offerings from Mark Anthony Myrie, widely-known as the iconic reggae superstar Buju Banton. A shining son of Jamaican soil, with humble beginnings as one of 15 siblings in the close-knit community of Salt Lane, Kingston, the 46-year-old musician is now a legend in his own right.

Buju Banton has 12 albums under his belt, one Grammy Award win for Best Reggae Album, numerous classic hits and a 30-year domination of the industry. His larger-than-life persona, however, is more than just the string of accolades that follow in the shadows of his career. It is his dutiful, authentic style of Caribbean storytelling that has captured the minds and hearts of those who have joined him on this long career ride.

The current socio-economic climate of uncertainty that the COVID-19 pandemic has thrusted onto the world, coupled with the intensified fight against racism throughout the diaspora, have taken centre stage within the last few months. Indubitably, this makes Buju—and by extension, his new album—a timely and familiar voice of reason in a revolution that has called for creative evolution.

With his highly-anticipated album, Upside Down 2020, the stage is set for Gargamel. The title of this latest discography feels nothing short of serendipitous, and with tracks such as "Memories" featuring John Legend and the follow-up dancehall single "Blessed," it's clear that this latest body of work is a rare gem that speaks truth to vision and celebrates our polylithic African heritage in its rich fullness and complexities.

Having had an exclusive listen to some other tracks on the album back in April, our candid one-on-one conversation with Buju Banton journeys through his inspiration, collaboration and direction for Upside Down 2020, African cultural linkages and the next generational wave of dancehall and reggae.

This interview has been shortened and edited for clarity.

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