Tallinn— Estonia: The week long Orient Music festival in Tallinn, Estonia, this year witnessed the active participation of African artists from Zanzibar (Tanzania), Zimbabwe and a media team from Cameroon.
Peeter Vahi, the artistic director of Orient Music festival says amongst the many music festivals hosted in Estonia yearly there are none that feature African artists prominently. He says “although African countries are not Orient, we invite them to the orient festival.”
Tiina Jokinen, general manager of festival adds that “The focus of the festival is on world cultures that may be disappearing, hence the justification for featuring performers from Africa.”
Speaking at the opening conference of the festival, the former First Lady of Estonia, Estonian folklorist, and patron of the festival, Dr Ingrid Rüütel, said “We are living in a special time when the world is becoming smaller and smaller. Various countries and continents are ever more consolidating and bounding up with each other.”
Welcoming the guests at the festival, Dr Ingrid emphasized that “Every ethnic and national culture needs a great attention, conscious protecting and developing. It is essential to get to know one another, because knowing leads to understanding and respect. So we can create a better world.”
The African presentations at the festival were: Tanzanian taarab-music workshop with Professor Mitchel Strumpf and Samir Ally Salim (artist) from the Dhow Country Music Academy, gourmet experiences from Africa, Conference of Ethnology and African cultures, and Shona shamanistic ritual dances from Zimbabwe.
For Samir Ally Salim, an artist from Zanzibar, coming to the festival has been a life changing experience. He says “This is the time for me to perform out of Africa and it has been a great experience to see how Estonians appreciate taarab music. The claps, smiles and cheers from the audiences were just amazing. After the shows many people came up to me to ask about my music and my country. Through my performance here, I introduced Tallinn to my country.”
Photo credits: Penjo Photography
Swerengoma Arts Production group from Zimbabwe performing Shona Ritual dances
Introducing Tallinn to Soya
Samir Ally Salim, vocalist and Quanun player from Zanzibar
Peter Phiri from Zimbabwe lectures on “Great Zimbabwe and Shon People’s cultures and Traditions”
Professor Mitchel Strumpf (Academic Director – Dhow Countries Music Academy) leads workshop on “The Taarab Song Tradition as part of Taarab Music in Zanzibar”
Comfort Mussa (Cameroonian Journalist) and Tiina Jokinen (General Manager –Orient Festival)
L-R Tiina Jokinen (General Manager –Orient Festival) ,Samir Ally Salim (musician from Zanzibar) and Peeter Vahi (Artistic Director –Orient Festival)
Comfort Mussa is a radio host, blogger and multi-award winning journalist. Comfort has more than 7 years’ experience in radio, internet, documentary and most recently photo and TV journalism. Talented, tireless and full of creativity, her works reflect her versatility and devotion to quality. Comfort is a member of the African Women Writers Community. In March 2015, Women Deliver selected Comfort, amongst top 15 journalists from around the world who are advocating for and advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls. She was subsequently voted amongst the top 5 worldwide in same category.
Peter Njodzeka a.k.a. Penjo Baba, is a leading Cameroonian photographer and videographer with over 12 years of work experience. He has produced content for outlets like BBC World News, CNN World View, Reporter Cameroon, CRTV Monday Show, CRTV Hello, CNN 30, Canal2 International – Ma Maison Ciné, and HiTV Buea.