For over a century, the lush combination of Arabic and Western instruments with delicate poetry and soaring vocals has formed Zanzibar’s gorgeous Taarab music. In 2012 the virtuosic qanun player Rajab Suleiman formed his Kithara mini-orchestra and added mesmerising vocalist Saada Nassor, aiming to revitalise the form, honour the past and stir new musical conversations.
The workshop will portray different aspects of the Swahili Taarab music of the Zanzibar Islands. Rajab Suleiman will give a short introduction to the music, and present his instrument - the qanun, a 78-string zither. In the second half of the workshop, the whole band will elaborate on Zanzibari ngoma (rhythms and dances) that form the basis of the band’s songs and practise forms of interaction with the workshop audience, such as the accompanying clapping patterns and dance moves.