7 East African artists performing at this year’s Ongala Music Festival

Now in its second year, Ongala Music Festival, named after Tanzanian cultural icon Remmy Ongala, celebrates the homegrown talent of Tanzania and East Africa. Remmy’s inspiration was to develop the fusion of different art forms and musical styles. Taking from 23 to 25 August in Bagamoyo, the festival aims to provide opportunities for local artists to develop and grow through building international networks. This year's festival line-up features an exciting array of emerging African artists, and we've selected seven we think you should hear:

1. Ze Spirits Band

Bagamoyo, Tanzania

Ze Spirits is a group of five, young, talented Tanzanian musicians from the historical coastal town of Bagamoyo. All members of the band began performing traditional and contemporary dance and music together when they were as young as seven years old. With such motivational and inspirational spirit in them, their style blends traditional African sounds/songs with other contemporary rhythms.


Ze Spirits Band - Mwizi (Official Video)


Mbeya, Tanzania

Wamwiduka Band plays the babatone, a homemade instrument that is very popular in Mbeya as well as Malawi. They also use the self-made four-string guitar, creating the traditional banjo sound. Their fresh and exciting blend of guitar music with traditional songs and sounds, has made them gain fast recognition in Tanzania.


Wamwiduka Band - Kilingeni (Official Video)


Bagamoyo, Tanzania

Vitali Maembe is an East African artist known for his music that combines inland and coastal rhythms, poetic and provocative lyrics. Through his music, Vitali channels freedom fighters and visionaries like Julius Nyerere, Frantz Fanon, and Biko with playful guitar riffs and signature acoustic sounds that invite listeners to consider new possibilities.


Vitali Maembe - Salama

4. Uhuru Republic

Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

Uhuru Republic is an interdisciplinary artistic collective born between Torino, Genova, Dar Es Salaam, Zanzibar and Nairobi that gives a new interpretation to the traditional Tanzanian / African music, dance, images and merges them with the old and new Italian / European trends. The act speaks a universal artistic language, with a strong interplay between the two expressive worlds.


Uhuru Republic - Slomo


Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

Samuel Hokororo, is the multi-talented singer, songwriter and dancer behind the ‘Hoko Roro’ Band. He is a gifted musician who brings energy and unadulterated joy to his performances whether performing solo on the many instruments he has mastered, or with his band.


Hokororo - Msobe Msobe

6. Apio Moro

Kampala, Uganda

Apio Moro is a Ugandan Afro-soul singer/songwriter who inspired continuous self-discovery and acceptance of self through her music. Through her life long relationship with Music, Apio has held a fascination with how music empowers people to tell their stories. Her messages of love and celebrations of victory are Delivered in Dhopadhola with a touch of English and Luganda.


Apio Moro - Ononsonyiwa (Acoustic)

7. Swahili Ally

Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

Swahili Ally is a singer and kora player from Tanga, Tanzania. He was born into a family of musicians and from an early age they passed onto him the traditional Digo music. Today, Swahili Ally fuses his vibrant performances of Digo music with the dazzling sound of the kora to create unique style of music.


Swahili Ally - Mvura (Official Video)

The second annual Ongala Music Festival will take place from 23 to 25 August in Bagamoyo, Tanzania. Explore the complete line-up and find out more information on the festival’s website.

A real world classic:

  • Mambo

    Remmy Ongala & Orchestre Super Matimila

    Released 02 March 1992

    This album features Remmy Ongala and the band in sparkling form at the 1991 Real World Recording Week. Intricate four-part guitar patterns interlock with bubbling bass lines, while the rhythm shifts seamlessly from a gentle lope to a galloping rhumba.

By Online Editor

Source text: Ongala Music Festival website. Main image: Ze Spirits Band.

Published on Fri, 09 August 19

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