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First semester of Academic Year 2017/2018 started in September. We have now almost 70 registered students studying instruments and Certificate/Diploma programs. This Academic year DCMA is providing music education for 6 primary schools in Zanzibar: Kisiwandui School, Shining Star Academy, Baby Care Center, Zanzibar Junior Academy, International School of Zanzibar and True Vision School.

At Kisiwandui School our teachers Nima and Zainab are teaching a a group of 16 kids with physical disabilities i.e blindness, hearing problems or wheel chaired. Even though our teachers Nima and Zainab are not professional art therapists we can see the results. This year we also started to work with a local NGO Kahesa Zanzibar and we are providing free music education to children with Down syndrome and autism.

Art therapy is bringing great results for children with disabilities. It develops speech and language skills in areas of communication, oral motor, sequencing, intelligibility and patterns of language. Music education is very helpful for learning social skills. It is also boosting their self-esteem.

This semester we started working again with with our branch in Mahonda. Due to lack of funds, this formerly very successful programme was discontinued in August 2015. Re-establishing this effort is in response to requests from this and other rural communities to bring music education and music performance know-how to the more remote locations in Zanzibar.
A Kidumbak orchestra from Mahonda is now regularly invited to perform during DCMA concerts.

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Just before the new semester has started, DCMA welcomed Ruth Daniel (In Place of War, UK), Lorraine Charlotte and Natalie Kombe (both from Shoko Festival, Zimbabwe) for a 2-day workshop on Creative Enterprenaulism. It was a great workshops given by outstanding professionals and our students learned a lot.

Thanks to Ruth DCMA will soon include a full 9 weeks long Creative Entrepreneurism course (which is accredited by the University of Manchester) to its Certificate and Diploma programs.

In September another special guest visited DCMA to give workshop for our guitar students – amazing guitarist Leon Michael King (UK), from Joss Stone group. Marco Rimondo (Italy) an experienced sound engineer led a 2 day workshop and amplifying acoustic concerts.

In December renowned French dancer and choreographer Denis Plassard (France), was working with our ngoma dancers on a joint performance organized by Association Franco-Zanzibarite. Also in December Swiss classical pianist Alesh Puhar and his daughter Ariana (violin) conducted masterclasses for our advanced students.

2018 opened with special workshops on jazz improvisation gave by Cleveland Watkiss (UK). Cleveland has performed with artists Stevie Wonder, The Who, Coldcut, Lisa Stansfield, Goldie, Björk, Bob Dylan, Keith Richards, Art Blakey, Sly & Robbie, Abdullah Ibrahim, Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Robbie Williams, Joe Cocker, Bobby McFerrin, Branford Marsalis, and George Martin among others.

Jorn Erik Ahlsen (Norway), made his first return in Zanzibar in last 6 years. Jorn was teaching guitar at DCMA form 2007 till 2008. This time he conducted masterclasses for our teachers and students.

Harald Lassen (saxophone), Emilie Lidsheim (violin) and Stian Andersen (double bass) – Norwegian jazz musicians that were teaching jazz at DCMA in 2013 - also returned to DCMA after couple of years to give workshops to our students.

An unexpected visit by American violin player Deni Bonet (USA), surprisped us in March. Deni has toured and recorded with many notable performers including Cyndi Lauper, R.E.M., Sarah McLachlan, Richard Barone, and Robyn Hitchcock) surprised us in January. She gave short masterclasses for some of our violin students.

Bilal Irshed (Palestine), Fatma Zidan (Egypt), and Lars Bo Kujahn (Denmark) gave taarab workshop for our students during Sauti za Busara. Ben Oldfiled (UK) - Vice-President of The Orchard, one of the biggest online music distributors gave workshops on digital distribution, and David Alexander (SA), Managing Director of Sheer Publishing gave an introduction to international copyrights.

A scholarship for one student for a year of music education at DCMA.
As a non-governmental, non-profit organization, DCMA is primarily supported by international donors. This is why we address this request to support our Scholarship Fund and allow more young people with musical talent to join DCMA and give them an opportunity not only to develop their talents but also to change their lives.
You can help us to change their lives and fulfill their dreams.


Academic Year 2017/2018 marks the return of regular, weekly concert: Asilia Night, presenting traditional taarab - (every Thursday at 8PM) and Afro Kabisa, presenting afro-fusion groups from DCMA (every Sunday at 8PM).
We have also introduced new series of concerts. Hurumzi Unlpugged - sponsored by Emerson on Hurumzi hotel – takes place every last Friday of the month, at 4PM at a small square on Hurumzi Street.
Another one is Open Mic - an open jam session once a month.

In October DCMA organized a special “Night at Forodhani” taarab concert, sponsored by Park Hyatt.
In November groups from Shining Star Academy, Baby Care Center and Zanzibar Junior Academy gave a wonderful performance at our “Children’s Open Day”

Some other special concerts like Matona’s Afdal Group (a jazz-taarab group formed with our Artistic Director Mohamed Issa “Matona” and Norwegian jazz musicians Harald Lassen, Stian A. E. Andersen Emilie Lidsheim, Martin Lie Svendsen and Ivar Asheim), Bob Albanese, Grzegorz Niemczuk (Polish classical pianist) took place at DCMA.

DCMA students are also a part of Crazy Monday jam sessions organized every Monday by Red Monkey Lodge in Jambiani.

DCMA groups were invited to perform at several occasions last semester. In September Taarab/Kidumbak Ensemble and Mapanya Band performed at of the oldest art festivals in Tanzania: Bagamoyo International Festival for Arts and Culture, organized by Bagamoyo College of Arts. The same month four of our groups (Taarab/Kidumbak Ensemble, Mcharuko, Ngoma Group and Mapanya Band) performed at Zanzibar Art Festival.

In September DCMA provided drumming workshops for Zanzibar Beach and Watersport Festival. We also had a stall there promoting our activities, and our students attended workshops organized by Goethe Institut Dar es Salaam.

In October our Taarab/Kidumbak Ensemble was invited to perform twice at Stone Town Food Festival.
In December Taarab/Kidumbak Ensemble was invited to perform at the Union Day reception at U.A.E. Emabassy in Dar es Salaam.

Three of our groups performed at the biggest music festival in East Africa: Sauti za Busara. Those were: Taarab/Kidumbak Ensemble, Siti and the Band and Mapanya Band.
Concerts were terrific! Siti and the Band have just released their debut album and gave 4 performances in Nairobi.
Our students' group Mapanya Band were performed and did workshops in Switzerland in April this year.

Meet Ferdinand a.k.a Man Fedo
Ferdinand Andrea Ferdinand was a jobless, but musically talented teenager, expecting his wife to give birth to their child. He had almost no perspectives for his future, but thanks to free education at DCMA he developed his music skills. Now his group Mapanya Band is performing at biggest East African festivals, and just recently made their first European tour.
You can help us make more stories like that happen.


A group of students and teachers from New York University Abu Dhabi came to DCMA in January for an audio-visual ethnography project on Zanzibari music and culture. Together with DMCA students they were recording, interviewing and documenting different aspects of island’s heritage. Sound engineers from NYU AD recorded two taarab concerts at DCMA. We plan to release an album with those recordings.

A group from Champlain College (US) also visited DCMA in January to take part in a special workshop and presentation on taarab music. It was not the first for Champlain College to visit DCMA. And it is no the last.

DCMA was also visited by some notable visitors like Swiss Ambassador (who was kind enough to tune our piano), Spanish Ambassador, Polish Ambassador, diplomats from Germany and Russia.

DCMA Music Store
In September DCMA started selling CD’s and t-shirts again. You can get a nice collection of Zanzibari music, as well as artists from other parts of the continent (all the CD’s for 25 000 TSH or 12 USD).
DCMA is also selling t-shirts with different Zanzibar music designs.
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DCMA is also a space for many volunteers coming for a couple of weeks or months to support our efforts. During the first semester we were very lucky to have wonderful people from Switzerland and Germany. Sara Hausheer spent a couple of weeks teaching piano. But her impact on DCMA is bigger than just teaching. You will read more in the next newsletter.

Anna-Katrina Thoma was a great violin teacher and made many friends at the Academy.Bob Albanese, a great jazz pianist spent 3 week with us. He is one of the most versatile voices in jazz and contemporary music on the New York scene today. His music has been received by audiences from Europe to Japan and has been described as swingin’, inspired, laced with humor, effortless and beautiful.

In October we welcomed Corneila Rost (right) – a music journalist, event organizer and a cellist from Germany and Benjamin Heider (left), a young guitarist form Switrzerland. Cornelia was in Zanzibar for almost 3 months, helping us in our public relation activities, but also preparing articles for German media. Benjamin was supporting our office operations and teaching guitar as well. In January Nora Rixus, a classical trained violinist from German spent a couple a couple weeks teaching at DCMA.

DCMA Community: Supporting music in Zanzibar
Thank you in advance for being a part of DCMA’s mission and journey. Help us to build a better future for talents in Zanzibar. Join DCMA Community! To become a member is easy, simply click the button below and follow the instructions.

Prof. Mitchel Strumpf passed away

A friend, father, professor and Academic Director Professor Mitchel Strumpf (R.I.P) 13th January, 2018.

Professor Mitchel Strumpf will be remembered as a man who was admired and respected by all who knew him, not only for his musical abilities and skills but also as a man who loved peace, who never quarreled and who gave whole-heartedly his love of music both in performance and in teaching fellow staff, teachers, musicians and students at the Dhow Countries Music Academy (DCMA).

We at the Dhow Countries Music Academy (DCMA) are privileged to have known and worked with him and he will be sadly missed.

Professor Mitchel Strumpf funeral which took place in Kianga. We as the DCMA, would like to express our sincerely gratitude to all those who prospered from the beginning to the end of this funeral in one way or another. May the soul of our academic director, brother, Friend, Father and Mentor rest in eternal peace. We will always remember you.

Siti binti Saad mural
In December local artist Dullah Wise has painted in our concert room a mural with an image of Siti binti Saad – the Mother of taarab. DCMA was also a temporary painting workshop for Dullah when he was creating a series of paintings with traditional taarab instruments.

Visiting Artistic Director

Our Artistic Director Mohamed Issa “Matona” took a break from November till February to record an album with his Matona Afdhal Group in Norway and perform in Spain and USA. That created an opportunity to invite someone with a different musical background for temporary replacement for Matona.

One the most important young jazz trumpeter in Europe – Piotr Damasiewicz – was teaching at DCMA for 3 months. He was giving individual trumpet, double bass and piano lessons. He was also leading two orchestras and giving improvisation group classes.

Three months of intensive work at DCMA had its climax the Piotr Damasiewicz final concert on 7th February, when he presented his orchestras and other ensembles he was working with.

New website & logo
This semester was also a time for launching our new website and logo.
We hope you like it! It was also a time when our social media channels became very active.
We have now almost 10,000 followers on our DCMA Facebook page, almost 700 on Instagram and 440 on Twitter.
We have also added new DCMA groups’ videos on our Youtube channel.

Artistic Director tour in Europe and USA

Mohamed Issa “Matona” – our Artistic Director and one of the founding fathers of DCMA toured Europe and USA, giving performances in New York, Spain, UK and Norway. In Norway he was also recording music for Matona’s Afdhal Group album.

DCMA established new partnerships with some local companies. PrintPlus is printing our posters, flyers and banners for free, StoneTown Traders donated DCMA with new computers, printers and office equipment, Zanlink prolonged it’s free Internet, Emerson on Hurumzi is sponsoring Hurumzi Unplugged concerts. Mnarani Beach Cottages sponsored our Children’s Open Day and Park Hyatt sponsored a taarab night at Forodhani.
DCMA is also working closely with Red Monkey Lodge / Crazy Monday Jam Session, Sauti Academy (Nairobi), Association Franco-Zanzibarite, Kahesa Zanzibar, Kawa Training Center, Musique A Mayotte, World Unite, Sauti za Busara, Zanzibar International Film Festival and others
Our Sponsors & Patners
Contact Us
We are located in Stone Town, on the top floor of the Old Customs House, located on the Mizingani Road waterfront, next to the Palace Museum and opposite of Mercury’s restaurant, on the road leads from Forodhani Gardens to the ferry port. Feel free to visit us!
Dhow Countries Music Academy
Old Customs House, Mizingani Rd.
P.O. Box 4055, Zanzibar, Tanzania
Mob: +255 (0) 777 399 366
Tel: +255 (0) 777 416 529

Email: admin@zanzibarmusic.org
Email: webadmin@zanzibarmusic.org
Website: www.zanzibarmusic.org
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2018 © Dhow Countries Music Academy
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