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Home » Digital Drama: Teaching and Learning Art and Media in Tanzania » Recording Masamva

Recording Masamva

In 2004, students at Chuo Cha Sanaa/Bagamoyo College of Arts recorded a demo album: Masamva. The recording was financed and assisted by Norwegian music teachers through the NOTA project. The album title comes from the CD’s first track, Masamva, which means ancestral spirits in kisukuma, the tribal language of the song’s composer, John Sombi. Most of the songs on the CD are original compositions, by John Sombi, Vitali Maembe, and Francis ‘Franco’ Malindi respectively. The style is traditional-modern, combining traditional (drums, bells) and modern (guitar, base guitar, drum kit, keyboard, trumpet) instruments, modern arrangements, local melodies, and lyrics in national or tribal languages. The songs vary in content, from spiritual beliefs and social relations (Sombi’s Masamvaand Mayu to political issues and social concerns (Maembe’s Afrikaand Sumu Ya Teja). The CD also contains some songs by famous Tanzanian musicians recorded by students. At the 2004 Arts Festival, the students performed their songs live to a very appreciative audience. Meanwhile the college sold the CD, without permission from the students and without sharing any of the income with them, despite the dictates of Tanzanian copyright law. The sound tracks for Afrikaand Masamva are streamed here with permission from John Sombi and Vitali Maembe.

Photo 1: CD sales stand in front of ICT building at 2004 Arts Festival

Photo 2: Vitali Maembe performing his song Afrika at the 2004 Arts Festival at Bagamoyo College of Arts

Video 1: Sumu Ya Teja

Photo 3: Masamva: original demo cover with copyrights

Photo 4: Masamva: new cover without contacts or copyrights

Photo 5: CD for sales

Audio tracks

“Masamva” by John Sombi and “Afrika” by Vitali Maembe

John Sombi — Masamva

Vitali Maembe — Afrika

This material is an accompaniment to Digital Drama: Teaching and Learning Art and Media in Tanzania.