Dear Warriors, Fans & Friends,
We all know what the path to success really looks like and 2021 cannot be neatly outlined. Worldwide issues and challenges ran the gamut from unprecedented demands for greater diversity and equality; climate change; and slippery experiments on democracy. As we started the new year in the USA, the capitol was attacked by a violent mob of Trump supporters who sought to overturn his defeat, while in Tanzania the blatant Covid19 coverup, propagated under late authoritarian President Magufuli, fostered widespread skepticism and fear. The worldwide dam broke open as people took back to the streets with masked protests and collective activism.
Here at VOM, our potential platform is being applied to continue to demonstrate what can happen when a collective spirit is courageous enough to support the least powerful among us. We aren't doing it with guns or raised fists, instead we are applying our voices with meaningful creativity to add some brightness to this world.
For us, this adds up to a happy convergence of
ability and capability.
Our path includes blessed creative talent and hard-earned discipline and we will continue to use our work to facilitate engagement, education, understanding and optimism. We will continue to use our social media environment not as a suffocating tool but one that generates more light than heat.
A common thread that I spotlight today: my team's ability to not create a sense of permanence around things that should be flexible. We live in a world of complicated circumstances and polarized and uncompromising social and political injustices. But my team and I share an unshakable faith in the positive force of relationships and the idea that cross-cultural collaborations can offer individuals a way of empowerment via personal expression and constructive interactions.
Fans, we know, of course, that this is all more consequential given the backdrop of the transformational pandemic that won't quit. But I challenge you to continue to recognize all humanities interconnectedness rather than what divides us. We will be better for it. Tenebo Oiye (we are together).
10yrs strong! Tenebo Oiye! We are together. Sending wishes of a successful New Year and fortunate strokes of Serengetidipity,
Announcement & Dedication
For our accomplished 10 YR anniversary, I am making good on my promise of a year filled with opportunities, celebrations, commemorations and music to soothe the soul. First, my favorite Producer in the world, Alex Lobulu, will join me in South Africa for a skill based industry conference, a remarkable journey that will expand our worldview and develop our artistry. Second, in the works is a new choir celebratory album honoring the start of VOM and this epic adventure in Maasailand. Third, I have to give special mention to my family for their nonstop support and constructive feedback. My husband, Michael Cicchella, shows unwavering support of this venture. He is the first to pop the bubbly for all milestones, but more importantly he really believes in what we are doing. He steps up and steps in when I need him most, from my heart to my head, I say thank you and the new album is definitely, in part, dedicated to all of you!
Enyito Korongoro Music Video
Honest acclaim goes to Alex Lobulu and Nemaa Koshuma for their ingenuity and persistence in maximizing a limited budget and meager resources to complete this Large Feat of Citizen Engagement. Their willingness to make long hauls, remain flexible and to quickly adapt to the unexpected resulted in tremendous success in sharing a critical and informed perspective of Ngorongoro Crater and the people who call it home. Official music video here. Welcome to the Boma Experience here
We send a heart-warmed thank you to Myles Berman for his donation to Voice of Maasai. His generosity allowed for the production of this relevant and time sensitive music video. We are forever grateful.
Remarkable Woman Award
In celebration of International Women’s Day, Voice of Maasai recognizes Angel Mollel with an award of distinction. This remarkable young lady is carving her dreams and breaking down gender inequality barriers for other youth Maasai women.
A common thread, our new anniversary choir album is from Ormelili Village in the Hai District and features some of Angel's family members. This outstanding work will be released soon as we are bursting at the seams to complete production.
Outstanding Team Member Recognition
WE are because WE are! Special recognition goes to a stellar team member who went the extra mile(s) in 2021. Jeremy Tum, lead behind Vychwa Vya Habari, hit the ground running with a focused radio campaign for our two new singles, Kwata Fagio and Enyito Korongoro! More than 38 radio stations in over 8 regions were playing our songs and interviews, thanks to Jeremy's organized efforts. See map of radio schedule here
Tum continues to be a treasure chest of hidden skills and a superb creative professional who adds such value to our team. In August, he coordinated and hosted the #vomdancechallenge providing an electrifying and satisfying showcase of Tanzanian dancers. He also invited Piane @h.e.r_m.a.j.e.s.t.y, a new dynamic and energetic co-host to the team. We love it when a plan comes together!
Award-winning vocalist Nemaa Koshuma and songwriter/producer Alex Lobulu take you deep within Ngorongoro District to share new single Enyito Korongoro (Awake Ngorongoro).
Nemaa's matured voice coupled by Alex's evolution as a recording engineer and producer has resulted in a slow build of unique skills, sound and style, continuing to 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, Alex 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. More Info Listen and Download Song View official music video
Msafiri Zawsoe and Alex Lobulu
Tutafanyaje (What Shall We Do) flits between dotted lyrical harmonies, rapped verses and interlocking techniques. Drawing from the popular Tanzanian Gogo sound that mixes traditional East African instruments with multiple vocalists, the contagious and transient sound swiftly expresses the glory and wonder of nature sitting at the cost of people and their shifting perspectives for our planet's security.
"We pulled off a neat trick: This catchy smooth fusion feels fresh, evolving beyond traditional African music."
Listen and Download Song
Kwata Fagio (Let us Work Together) crosses styles with sounds of the East African marimba, quick rap beats and playful reframing of tradition. The inimitable sounds of Msafiri Zawose's contemporary Gogo fusion music mixed with our own Alex Lobulu's throaty voice and adaptable composition, makes for a cool and entranced listening experience contrasting the urgent lyrics that convey the current global climate crisis.
Listen and Download Song
Awards & Talent Opportunities
In 2019, we launched our bi-annual competition series. Providing artists the opportunity to be involved with our global altruistic music and media label and to win cash prizes!
Marlon David's mad moves checked all the boxes for our judges and took home the fat prize of 1M TSH along with mentoring from our organization team Vychwa Vya Habari.
Our competition set out to achieve these goals:
1) inspire newcomers, youth and creative talent in TZ to take risks, grow and stretch their creative skills
2) goal setting, mentorship and participation in something larger than themselves
3) peer to peer learning
4) opportunity for artist to build portfolio/resume
5) encourage our culture of prizing initiative and respecting creators
Improvements for Team & Brand
Always keeping my eye on the future, here are our significant improvements in 2021.
Collaboration with renowned artist and new talent recruitment
Participation in essentials skills educational conference
Radio campaign for brand visibility and fan engagement
10 Yr Anniversary Talent Map
Thank You for Your Support
From the humble beginning of my volunteership in Tanzania in 2011, to the grassroots indie label we are today, we would like to say THANK YOU! Our label is testament to commitment, acceptance and shared humanity which can feel like gold dust in these precarious times. You have helped us to fund music albums, provide education opportunities, upgrade equipment, repair after the big flood, build a public mural, empower families and the list goes on.
My heartfelt thanks goes out to all who continue to support this work. For those who have downloaded the music, we hope it has brightened a 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 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 & VOM Team
"Serengetidipity, when two unlikely things come together in a happy and beneficial way"
We are a social enterprise, Good Samaritan Donations are not tax deductible and purely motivated by the welfare of others. Your donation will help us purchase new studio equipment, improve professional skills and provide education opportunities for our team. Support our work or purchase talent map. Prefer Venmo? Tip our collective @voiceofmaasai $5 - $25 - $50 - $1000+...we'll put any amount to good use!