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Dear Warriors, Fans & Friends,
2023 was an exhilarating year for VOM – not only for our team, but for the small army of talented individuals who build businesses and families along side us. Thank you for making our favorite moments from this year possible, and for being a part of this incredible community.
There are so many positive aspects of being part of a small group of committed people. We learn from each other, give support and encouragement and openly share our unique talents, an invaluable part of joining forces with our peers. This connection has paved the path for new passions and problem-solving for the specific challenges that lurk in our world.
As some of you know, for the past 10 years we have been partnering with Alex Lobulu in renting space for our recording studio. After over a decade of juggling different risks from flood damage to noise pollution to unexpected development, we arrived at a crossroads and had to evaluate the future of VOM.
I am delighted to announce that we have completed the build of a new recording studio in Arusha that will allow the VOM team to have better control over their working environment and most importantly, their futures.
There is so much potential in the music industry to make the world a better place and we are thrilled to be part of this unifying pursuit, let’s keep this entrepreneurial adventure alive and thriving. Tenebo oiye - we are together.
Sending wishes of a joyful and prosperous New Year and fortunate strokes of Serengetidipity to you,
ARMY OF VOM VIP & TEAM REUNION & SAFARI CELEBRATION
It is an honor to work alongside these incredible entrepreneurs, businesses, and individuals who help us continue to push boundaries. We definately consider you VOMVIP and thank you for your partnerships, special experiences and contributions over the years.
Special mention to: @PristineTrails, John Mushi @wsh_arusha @RemoteYear @WomenInMusic @MMF_us, Judy Lobulu, Niosha Vigue, Michael Cicchella, Alex Lobulu, Nemaa Koshuma, Moinget Ole Kuney, Jeremy Tum + countless others for making 2023 epic!
New Talent Collab
Young Pendo Moringe (22), from Kitwai Simanjiro, is the latest addition to our talent roster in our continued commitment to amplifying female voices of the Manyara Region. Despite the demanding domestic responsibilities put on Maasai women, ambitions of enterprise and empowerment are Pendo's laser-focused objective. Determined to use her music and VOM platform for championing her community, her goals include solving local problems with local influence.
Read VOM Interview with Pendo
Listen to interview with Orkonerei Radio FM 94.3
RADIO TOUR DREAM TEAM
VOM Road tours were started in 2021 to bring our music directly to fans in Maasailand, engage in discussion and honor Maasai traditions.
Special recognition goes to our stellar road tour team who always go the extra mile(s) for community engagement, interviews, and song sharing.
Special mention to: Orkonerei Radio, Jeremy Tum, Laanyuni Simbile, Nemaa Koshuma, Pendo Moringe, Yoeni Japhet, Maxwell Joseph, Dorcus Charles, Jamal Malick, Baraka Ole Maika, James Lucas
OUTSTANDING TEAM MEMBER
The new studio is exciting for all of the VOM team but is particularly significant to our producer Alex Lobulu. He has emerged into a prominent and sought-after professional in the Arusha music scene as a sound engineer, producer and director who makes a full-time living with his music.
For the past decade, VOM partnered with him out of the humble home rental where he built a custom recording studio. In March, he received the bad news that the owner of the property was converting the space into a hotel. Suddenly at a crossroads, soon to be homeless and with no studio, big decisions needed to be made.
With so much history between us, Alex and I sat down and formulated a plan for a future studio that offered him security and safety while guaranteeing the continued success and development of VOM.
He is a true asset as his passion and keen skills help set us apart from other musical talents coming out of Tanzania. Instead of focusing on the same combination of beats and techniques with new music, he 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.
The future is bright and I once again stand in awe of this resilient individual who I get to call a business partner, but most importantly a dear friend.
Irmaasai Lang ft Pendo Moringe
Using lyrical creativity to express the soul of her people, Pendo Moringe is a voice for Maasai consciousness with feminine tone and youthful appeal. A call-and-response community song, the lyrics demonstrate how the youth value their culture, and require unity to protect their home and traditions. Alex emphasizes the intuitive storytelling with highly rhythmic and harmonic vocals that fuse genres of African music.
ft Alex Lobulu & Nemaa Koshuma
Infusing deep house with Tanzanian straightforward beats, Uncommon interprets some serious topics through a smooth new style. The new EP features Alex Lobulu and Nemaa Koshuma blending the old with the new. Inspired by Amapiano subgenre of South Africa, we focused on slow-paced dance beat and lounge vibe, inclusive of mixed-language lyrics.
Rather than dominating with sonic textures, like Amapiano, we wanted Tanzanian short beats and vocals to dispense the sheer bliss of making music and moving freely between collaborations. Uncommon strives to depict that special something of this unique culture where beauty, value and wealth are determined by their own devotion to traditions and not the standards or expectations of the world around them.
Mama Africa ft Attu Medicine
A mix of English and Swahili lyrics glide into a colorful tour and clarity of identity for both the youthful singer and the story she tells. Attu's ladylike and gentle voice resonates with truthful sound and sincere heart. Harmonized with male counterpart, Miki, they seem to somehow awaken serene sonic beauty backed with chill beats and that exceptional easy savannah sound.
Excellence In Design Award X 2
Recipient of Award of Excellence in Design for Irmaasai Lang & Mama Africa Album Art, on Neenah Astrobright paper for the thirteen consecutive year of award recognition from Graphic Design USA.
Irmaasai Lang Album Art Inspiration:
Pendo is 22 years old, same as my daughter, an impressionable age where tension between interdependence and independence is still critical. I see a strong, caring, go-getter, a fear-tackler, unafraid to stand up for what she believes in, if she can continue on this uplifting path, I trust she can be an optimistic advocate for her peers, community and a bright star in our ever-expanding label.
Mama Africa Album Art Inspiration:
Mama Africa conjures up visuals of bright color, bold patterns, and effortless cool style, but many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view. As I try to imagine how Attu perceives the world around her, my design unites two profiles, the famed musician in the publics eye and the visually impaired person when off stage. A courageous young woman, who will no doubt defeat the pressures of industry double standards and vanity with courage and determination. The format is inspired by the nostalgic 12" vinyl record covers, paying homage to keeping the music (the story) alive.
Voice of Maasai album art sold as limited editions, a direct way for our passionate fans to support our social impact label. Become an Inner Circle Collector!
Red Carpet Warriors
Enyito Korongoro selected as official music video for exhibition and competition at BWiFF 2023 (Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival!) A timely call-to-action, Nemaa Koshuma's story expresses undeniable sensibilities to standing at a precipice in modern day Maasai communities. Constantly threatened with eviction, the Maasai are being forced off their homeland. His musical plea urges individual responsibility and education as essential steps to conserving land and protecting the resources that have nurtured his people for generations.
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 music video. 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.
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.
Thriving Relationship Keys Up New Collab with Composer Alex Lobulu - Lyricist Jessey Jansen
I have been writing lyrics for the last decade, I thought it was time to bring them to life with Alex as the composer. I mean how simple and beautiful is that? Alex has this marvelous way of seeing the words and being able to quickly and thoughtfully compose.
We’ve honed our skills to such a degree that this new endeavor is off to a running start as we are working up a list of breakthrough songs. I write about love and relationships with central characters who are not necessarily losing in life, but not winning either, touching emotional territory that can resonate cross-culturally. While Alex applies his Tanzanian accent, gospel-inflections, and melodic compositional style, we uniquely balance stark lyrical honesty with the highly rhythmic East African sound.
We really challenge one another, I mean we’ve crossed international borders, dealt with language barriers and different cultural perspectives, but we still have fun and trust one another whole-heartedly.
Serengetidipity, when two unlikely things come together in a creative and beneficial way, encompasses all of what the last decade has come to mean. It's my word, a philosophy, an open mind to everything, an ethos of discovery, a thriving inner nature; it's how I dreamt up the music label, formed valuable relationships and pushed the boundaries of possibility.
You can now read each individual artist Serengetidipity Discovery, the unique encounter I doted on and developed into our roster of talent. This is how we keep making awesome new music and building on this creative venture!
Thanks for Your Support
Voice of Maasai produces uplifting East African music through co-writes and collaborations. Connecting a global audience with emerging Maasai talent, we provide authentic and nuanced perspectives of Maasai life in the Savannah's, using music as a vehicle for social bonding.
For those who have downloaded our 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.
Many thanks for being part of this journey - Ashe Naleng!
& VOM Team
Year End Recap
Afraid of change, leave it here!
Collect Award Winning Album Art!
If you would like a printed copy of VOM Year in Review with BONUS coloring sheet, please email Jessey@voiceofmaasai.com with your name & mailing address, I will be happy to send it along.