Dear Warriors, Fans & Friends,
2020 was a year of holding steady in some ways, and pushing boundaries in others. COVID19 and the presidential elections in both the United States and Tanzania propagated uncertainty and hardship. But our team has persevered and gained one of our most prolific years yet; conceived a community mural installation, collaborated with a world renowned artist, hosted an energized rap competition and received an invitation to be part a global music collective. I am so honored and humbled to be working with a pulsing team with an indestructible sense of wonder.
We capped off the year with an intimate fundraiser art bazaar in Austin Texas, every purchase will go a long way in securing the futures of our artists and we THANK YOU. Visit here if you missed the event but would still like to make a purchase or tip our artists.
Focused forward, I feel this deep burn of motivation for what is yet to come while tapping the confidence of what has already been built. Responsibility comes from within and I will continue to plant the seeds that hopefully grow into better futures.
We are over-the-moon to announce our upcoming 10 Year Anniversary! In 2021, we look forward to bringing you a year filled with opportunities, celebrations, commemorations and music to soothe the soul. We hope you continue to enjoy our music while supporting our artists as we make history with Voice of Maasai music label! We have very exciting things heading your way!
Collaboration with World Renowned Artist
In early March our studio was abuzz as Msafiri Zawose, a prominent contemporary Gogo musician toted his traditional zeze instrument to Arusha. We contacted Zawose in February to pitch the idea of producing a song for Beyond Music, the international music collaboration that unites professional musicians. We were elated when he replied, "Sure I am interested in collaborating on a song for the next compilation."
VOM will be releasing two new visionary singles that try to heal humanity. The dotted lyrical harmonies, rapped verses and interlocking techniques sum up the cumulative talents of Zawose and Lobulu and will leave our fans to consider life yet to come. Stay tuned as we drop a single in January 2021!
Invitation to International Collective Beyond Music Project
I have an abiding fantasy of receiving personal invitations from famous musicians to collaborate and instantly our music hits world charts. Of course this is my storybook version. But there is no denying that we already accomplished some star power of our own. Voice of Maasai exerts a force on dreamers and seekers. There's a sense of possibility and permission, an open-invitation to create your world from scratch. Our fans have told us so and we're catching the ears of industry professionals. Read more here
Community Outreach Mural
After receiving numerous submissions in response to our open-call competition for mural artists, Wachata Crew - from Dar Es Salaam - brought their magical skills and moving concept to fruition in Arusha Town. This mural exemplifies my vision for Voice of Maasai label. I call it the C-factor: creativity leads to confidence which builds character that strengthens communities. I am so proud of our team for rallying together to make the project a huge success and to have released our documentary, 3 Days of Street Art Arusha. Thank you to Wachata Crew, Alex Lobulu, Rukia Kurwa and Arusha Meru International School for the donation of wall space. The mural can be viewed at the new Krokon Road at the back of Arusha Meru International School.
Equal parts spiritual and actionable, Mitonie Najalan (Let Us Stop Being Lazy and Work), expresses undeniable sensibilities to the disruption of traditional social patterns and the Maasai way of life. Koshuma's personal and communal beliefs are beautifully captured by the tracks mid-tempo production and ethereal vocals. While Alex Lobulu's keen composition skills set Voice of Maasai apart from other musicians coming out of Tanzania. Instead of focusing on the same combination of beats and techniques with new music, Lobulu solidifies the rare combination of art and technology that is performed with open ears, coupled with a desire to help create the best music listening experience possible.
Vychwa Vya Habari
Nyenza, a rapper/emcee from Morogoro Tanzania is known for his catchy and abundant lyrics with powerful command of the Swahili language, he has ability to deliver message through metaphor which captures the minds of his audience. Usikate Tamaa (Do Not Give Up) is an emotionally rich and positive song with perfectly balanced vocals, rhythm and poetry.
New vocal talent DPrince Casmir, ft Dorcas Hezekiah and composer Alex Lobulu render a smooth single of soul hip-hop, I've Got You. Casmir, a hardworking entrepreneur, maps out his story lyrically and turns the spotlight on pride verse remorse and faith over agnosticism. Read more about DPrince Casmir here
Award Competition & Talent Opportunities
Our inaugural year for VOM Award Competitions revealed exceptional talent across Tanzania. Here are the winners
Our judges evaluated the rap with the following criteria in mind:
1. Uniqueness - ability to deliver and command attention through the flows and wordplay to pre-recorded beat
2. Comfortability - The artist to sound comfortable over the beat and master skills such as clarity, flow and delivery
3. Creative video
4. Positive attributes of rappers' submission
Libra MiambaTano's lyrical style checked all the boxes for our judges and took home the fat prize of 1M TSH and received mentoring from our organization team Vychwa Vya Habari.
Voice of Maasai presents Dickson Elias Kimaro with an Award of Artistic Excellence for his charcoal drawing titled, "Elephant." Kimaro is the premier winner of the Inaugural 2020 January VOM Illustration Award Competition and we are honored to share his remarkable talents with our fans.
Kimaro hails from Dar Es Salaam and started drawing as a second grade student. He feels fortunate to have received his primary and secondary education. His dream is to be a representative of his beloved country, Tanzania, through his art and to build a career from his talents.
See here for upcoming VOM Award Competitions - Bi-annual competitions in which participating visual artists have the opportunity to win cash prizes and be published with Voice of Maasai.
Improvements for Team & Brand
Expansion to new platform for licensing and collaboration opportunities
Professional EPK pages for our talent roster
New merch and partnership with Maasai women's collective hand-made jewelry
Public mural for local brand visibility
Message From Founder
I promise to keep steering us in a direction that will help Amplify Maasai Voices and share the story of the Savannah’s of East Africa through the lens of those who call it home.
My heartfelt thanks goes out to all who continue to support this work, with a loud shout-out to VOM brand ambassadors that pitched-in at the events this past fall. For those who have downloaded the music, thank you, we hope it has brightened a dark day, lifted a spirit or two, or just made your ears ring with happiness. For those who have contributed monetarily, please feel a rush of pride that your dollars have supported our award winning music that is now available to the masses and helps to empower individuals. To those who have sent encouraging words, this is truly a gesture that pushes me forward when I feel slow. And for those who have taken the time to learn more, thank you, your inquiries fuel a brighter world.
To all, many thanks, ashe naleng!
~ Jessey and team
"Serengetidipity, when two unlikely things come together in a happy and beneficial way"
This initiative is made possible by the generous support of world music lovers like you!