Msafiri Zawose

Marimba, Zeze, Ilimba and Ngoma
TANZANIA

Msafiri Zawose is currently one of the most admired Gogo musicians today. His father, Hukwe Zawose (1938-­2003) was a musical giant, an influential figure in post­independence Tanzania, head of a large musical clan, a master musician and one of the most mesmerizing performers ever seen. Born into a family that honors and values tradition, Msafiri is determined to preserve this rich musical heritage.

Gogo music, originating in Central Tanzania, derives its unique sound from the mixture of the traditional instruments and vocal harmonies. Like his father, Msafiri has mastered a wide variety of instruments from marimba (balafon), zeze (Gogo two­stringed violin), ilimba (pentatonically tuned thumb piano) and ngoma (traditional drums). He has a transient voice spanning a wide range of styles and sounds, transporting his listeners to a different world.

Msafiri has established himself as a positive musical force within Tanzania, preserving tradition, but with a modern twist. He has been able to maintain close ties to his traditional Gogo roots, while creating a new and exciting energy that is contagious to anyone who hears it. While artists in Tanzania are adopting international styles such as hip­hop, reggae and r’n’b, Msafiri has built a sound that no one is able to mimic. Singing in both Swahili and his native Gogo language, the music is truly based in the environment and the people that shaped its authors, who aim to share experiences with their fellow Tanzanians and with the world. Even for those who do not understand the language, the passion and energy are deeply universal.