Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Cooking for Isimila Festival's second leg

By +Caroline Anande Uliwa @CarolAnande-Instagram @CarolAnande-Facebook @CarolAnande-Twitter

Grace Matata performing her recent single 'Utanifaa'-photo
by Grace Matata cre
A festival is finding root some 20 km from Iringa in Tanzania, close to the Isimila historical stone age site inside the ‘Isimila African Garden’. Launched last year in September, it’s now scheduled to occur this May on the 20st & 21st. 

“A couple of us had been playing as a small band in Iringa,  one time we played at this fundraiser for one of the schools here. A number of residents turned up just to hear our band play four or five songs…like a 150 people. Afterwards we just sort of realised that here in Iringa people are hungry for live music and so decided to organise a day of music…” Matt Van Dis, Festival Co-ordinator & musician.
A performance from last years inaugural 
Isimila Festival in Iringa

This is how Isimila festival was born last year in September. In its organising team together with Matt are Tom Hilton, Josephine Smit, Kerstin Scheffler & Saidy Mlewa the former two also run the ‘Isimila African Garden’ where the festival takes place.

This year the festival has gone a notch higher, inviting more established artists from all over Tanzania onto their stage. To include Jhikoman a.k.a Jhiko Manyika, the Tanzanian reggae musician based in Bagamoyo. https://web.facebook.com/afrikabisatz/ Who has been serenading audiences since 1994, his music which fuses roots reggae with contemporary Tanzanian music. Has lyrics in Kiswahili. English & his mother tongue ‘Kinyasa’, many at times lending to social justice.

Also afro-RnB songstress Grace Matata will be on stage at the festival, this petite fire cracker has been lighting the torch for female live singers in the country since 2013. https://web.facebook.com/eon4eskoba 
Jhikoman on stage in Dar es Salaam
Earlier this year she released her new single ‘Utanifaa’ and got signed up for a management contract with Panamusic, based in South Africa. She’s been featured in several festivals in the region to include the Doa Doa Festival in Uganda and ZIFF in Zanzibar.  Based in Dar es Salaam one can find her performing live on Fridays at The Hyatt Hotel.

“My mom is from Iringa, I have lots of relatives there, but I’ve never performed in Iringa. So I’m really excited to be climb on stage this May…” Grace Matata quips of her anticipation for the festival.

Mzungu Kichaa onstage
in Dar es Salaam
Also Mzungu Kichaa makes the headlining list of artists for this year’s Isimila Festival. https://web.facebook.com/MzunguKichaa/ This Danish born singer who is well known in Tanzania, having featured with artists like Juma Nature, TID, Mangwaya & Ferooz in the late 90’s. Today he runs his own recording label ‘Caravan Records’, with his band featuring Kevin Micheal Mpangala on the base, Abdallah Membe (Kikombe) on the drums, Shaaban Rashid (Mugado) on the keyboard and Emmanuel Abraham Mwandemelela ( Mopao) on lead guitar.  Together they’ve performed extensively in Europe and within the country.

The festival will also feature Chi Temu https://web.facebook.com/Chibist90/ a rising diva  a.k.a Achieli Temu as well Hip Hop star Bill Nass & many others including; 'kwaya ya vijana kanisa kuu Lutheran'. Meanwhile the festival is proud to be providing support to local artisans by providing them to showcase their goods. Here NGO’s like STEP, an elephant conservation program working in the region, will be displaying their literature to educate the audiences. 

An act from the locale community, on stage in the first
Isimila festival last year
“It’s our hope that this festival works as a catalyst for local community integration through cultural exchange. Also bringing attention to the wonderful touristic cites of the Southern Highlands of Tanzania…” Tom Hilton, founder Isimila Festival. 

For more details on how to get tickets including camping opportunities at the Isimila African Garden grounds. Visit http://www.isimila-festival.org

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