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."
Promptly setting things into motion, Msafiri traveled to Arusha from his home in Bagamoyo and spent 4 days in the studio with Alex Lobulu. Jamming in unmitigated sessions, wearing COVID19 masks as the news of COVID19 just started to percolate through global society, the two fused Msafiri's prolific talents with Alex's adept producing and broke open a master-work of Gogo-fusion.
Msafiri Zawose is one of the admired Gogo musicians in Tanzania today and hails from deep musical roots as the fifth child of Dr. Hukwe Zawose (past interview CNN video link). Surrounded by musicians and spending his days at art school, Msafiri began learning music and picked up the ilimba at a young age. By his 13th birthday, he had already mastered all of the signature Gogo instruments and was already touring widely throughout the country. His international debut was a three-month tour to Japan singing, dancing, and playing ndono, ngoma, and marimba with his father’s group Chibite. After his father’s untimely death in 2003, Msafiri resolved to pick up where his father left off. With his charismatic style, prolific song-writing and multi-instrumentalist skills, Msafiri breaks open tradition by pioneering Gogo-fusion music.
Throwing our artistry in with Msafiri's, Voice of Maasai will be releasing two singles in the upcoming months that flit between distinct lyrical harmonies, rapped verses and contagious sounds that mix traditional African instruments with multiple vocalists.
"I am convinced we are making musical history," says Founder Jessey Jansen, speaking from her management studio in Austin Texas. "I can't worry about if we are doing things by the rules in the industry of music, but rather how I can help my artists be exposed to more opportunities to grow their talents and get closer to making their dreams come true."
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