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2022 Year End Recap


Funder Jessey Jansen
Founder Jessey Jansen

Dear Warriors, Fans & Friends,

It gives me great pleasure to bring you our newsletter as we approach another successful year end. I am inspired and energized by all the people that come our way, from new fans both local and international, to interested partners and ambitious new talent. I am so grateful that I can engage with so much creativity.


I must ask, what do you think makes for ambition? Ambition is persistence, so stick with it. Whether it is a desk job, a labor position, contract work or a combination of all, dedication to pursue your dream and the drive to see it through all takes true character, a lot of grit and self-evaluation.


We have been coming together for over a decade of sharing a common cause and values for the creative work of Voice of Maasai music collective; having achieved our mission in providing a creative platform that helps to crack stereotypes, advance opportunities, and build bridges for Maasai talent. Our contributions have included award-winning music, film, uplifting collaboration, and art that raises awareness to issues in Maasailand, empowering our artists with a platform for expression, education, and portfolio building at no monetary cost to the artist.

Jessey Jansen and Alex Lobulu in Johannesburg
Jessey and Alex in Johannesburg

In 2019, an Achilles injury rolled into the world-wide lockdown, I went from traveling to Tanzania multiple times a year to now a 3-year hiatus. This gap from face-to-face immersion with my team and Swahili culture has been very challenging for me personally but it pushed my imagination and allowed for some space to reflect on what really matters. During those 3 years, we overcame a studio flood, hosted a community engagement mural, produced exceptional new music, sponsored radio tours, hosted Alex for his first international travel experience at ACCES conference in Johannesburg, upgraded equipment and published a 10yr anniversary choir album. Deep breathe, all that while navigating the 2022 eviction crisis and drought sweeping across Maasailand with worldwide repercussions from Russia's invasion of Ukraine.


What this proved to me, is that we can continue to achieve forms of success that expand beyond limits of circumstances. In upping my game, I embarked on an accreditation program for non-profit leadership and management. Having graduated last spring, armed with new tools, ideas, and a renewed sense of motivation, I am eager to build even more tangible opportunities for VOM team. VOM excels by breaking down overwhelming projects into steps: research, prep work, drafting, editing, polishing, all while carving chunks of time to mind map and trust a process that stretches the unique human capacity of imagination to offer something new, inclusive, and informative for the public. Finding tools that are relative to our cross-cultural initiative is key to our success.


For those who have been with us since the start, you understand my goal has always been to develop VOM in a way that would not require my constant back and forth to Tanzania, as budget is limited and my carbon footprint needs to lessen. So with more direction and less travel, I send you wishes of a successful New Year and fortunate strokes of Serengetidipity to you all, tenebo oiye.

Jessey Jansen

 

Congratulations

Mokia Naputu Maasai Wedding

Let's talk about ambition, that fierce feeling that can steer the wildest dreams into reality. The yearning desire to achieve a sharply molded objective spiked with enthusiasm for purpose. Maasai warrior, Mokia Naputu, thrusts himself forward in his goal of helping his people.


Hongera sana to Mokia and his bride on their recent union. Mokia is part of the VOM family, one of our published contributors and a Professor in Dar Es Salaam. From all of us here at VOM, we wish you both infinite years of trust, partnership, friendship, and love.


Read more of Nokia's education journey here

Read Mokia's articles here


 

Highlights


Upendo Album Release

With over a decade of experience building VOM, we have gained quite a notable reputation for our collaborative spirit. Not content to rest on the laurels, we teamed up with Angel Mollel, recipient of VOM 2021 Remarkable Women Award, to produce our second full choir album. Angel's community choir, including some of her family members, caravanned to the studio where Alex was jazzed to work together in producing our 10YR celebratory album, Upendo.


Album includes 8 original songs flitting between Maasai Gospel, Calypso, Chakacha, Makirikiri, Blues and Traditional. From Ormelili Village, the choir consists of men and women, ages 15 - 60.


Deep from the African bush, hear the LOVE

Angel Mollel explains meaning of song here

Support water campaign for Ormelili Village

Kalo Shore Ele Lindaito album art

Award Winning Album Art

Award of Excellence in Design for limited-edition album art, Kalo Shore Ele Lindaito (What Kind of Friend are You) on Neenah Astrobright, made from six vibrant layers of cut paper.


Inspiration behind the art:

VOM album art combines my artistic skills with my passion for helping others. Sold as limited editions, it is an actionable way for our fans to be the catalyst for budding Maasai talent. The design for Kalo Shore Ele Lindaito is centered around vocalist Nemaa Koshuma and his pioneering spirit.


His courage to use song to raise his voice about progress and problems in Maasailand is truly admirable. I try to put myself in his shoes, into the labyrinth, the meandering path, the confusing human-made structures that affect life in Maasailand and the Serengeti. Circular elements weave their way into my designs as they are central in Maasai culture; from body marks to migration patterns in nature, to aerial views of the vast countryside dotted with circular bomas, you sense connectivity all around. The format is inspired by the nostalgic 12" vinyl record covers, paying homage to keeping the music (the story) alive. Collect album art here


VOM Road Tour

Never underestimate the power of music to bring people together. VOM Road Tour sets out to share music, engage in discussion and honor Maasai traditions❤️😘🙏🏼 Big shout out to @laanyuni__simbile @jeremy_vcw @nemaakoshuma for their limitless energy and smooth people skills!



Outstanding Team Recognition

WE are because WE are! Special recognition goes to this stellar team who went the extra mile(s) in 2022 for community engagement, interviews and radio tour. Jeremy Tum, Laanyuni Simbile and Nemaa Koshuma hit the ground running with a focused road tour campaign for Upendo, Karibu Tanzania and Kalo Shore Lindaito! The tour went from Sanya Juu to West Kilimanjaro. 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. Last year, he coordinated and hosted the #vomdancechallenge providing an electrifying and satisfying showcase of Tanzanian dancers. He also actively scouts new dynamic talent to add to our growing roster of unique Tanzanian talent.


Holiday Favorites Are Back + Shop + Give

Coin the Cause holiday shop

 

New Music


Zungu Pori and Attu Medicine Single

Nurturing talent through co-writes and collaborations, VOM and Vichwa Vya Habari partner with Zungu Pori and Attu Medicine from Saanya Juu Kilimanjaro for our new release, Karibu Tanzania. A catchy hip-hop anthem getting the word out about resilience, riches and promises of their nation. The hopeful poets flow fresh personal style sheathed in the intoxicating peaceful rhythm Tanzanians effortlessly embody. Jumping-off with a smooth call-out to Gen Z, followed with cautionary tales of history and teachable moments, the male-female duo raps and reps out for happenings in their beloved nation of Tanzania. Read More

Ormelili Choir Album

Deep in the African bush is intimate knowledge of the natural world rooted in convictions of spiritual love and traditions of the Maasai. Ormelili Choir from the Hai District lift mere dialogue to a sensory exploration with emotive and uplifting gospel music on the release of our 10YR celebratory album, Upendo (Love). Album includes 8 original songs flitting between Maasai Gospel, Calypso, Chakacha, Makirikiri, Blues and Traditional. From Ormelili Village, the choir consists of men and women, ages 15 - 60. Listen here



Nemaa Koshuma Single

Kalo Shore Ele Lindaito (What Kind of Friend Are You) featuring vocalist Nemaa Koshuma and songwriter/producer Alex Lobulu. This A-minor composition adds electric guitar and synthesized beats as Lobulu merges influences of jazz and Maasai cultural flavor, creating a song that is easy to follow and truly unique. Read More

 

New Talent Development


Attu Medicine with Voice of Maasai

Attu Medicine

Attu Medicine, female vocalist in our latest release Karibu Tanzania, has a voice that will captivate you. The energy is sweet and soft with a tempting womanly undertone that highlights her gorgeous pitch and clarity.


Attu is a novice and was ready to give up on her aspiring music goals. Her days are challenged with being a single mother in a country that often underrespresents female talent, a combo which wickedly erodes confidence. Jeremy, a member of #voiceofmaasai team, caught wind of Attu and contacted me with a pitch to develop her talents.


This is the power of Voice of Maasai...read more


 

Improvements


Always keeping my eye on success, here are our significant improvements that happened in 2022

  • New Mixer and iMac for recording studio

  • New talent recruitment

  • Team participation in industry conference, ACCES in Dar Es Salaam

  • Radio and community engagement campaign for brand visibility and fan engagement

  • Launch of 10 Yr Anniversary Music Album

 

Looking Back to Look Ahead

How we went from an idea to program to music label is not by accident. Here are some of the tenets we follow:

  • Operate on creativity, thought inclusion, teamwork

  • Align tasks with talent

  • Create processes

  • Value a culture where everyone is accountable and entrusted with resources

  • Manage our management

  • Don't let people sit in mistakes

  • Illuminate strengths and weaknesses

With less travel and more direction, 2023 has some exciting things in cue:

  • Killer upcoming single from Attu's time in the studio

  • Jessey and Alex are ramping up the creativity and have a big surprise in store for you all

 

Thanks for Your Continued Support

From the humble beginning volunteering in 2011 in Moshi Tanzania, to the grassroots indie label we are today, we would like to say THANK YOU! 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.


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. Prefer Venmo? Tip our collective @voiceofmaasai​ $5 - $25 - $50 - $1000+...we'll put any amount to good use!

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