Festival

The Wagogo Music Festival, now the Chamwino Ngoma Festival, began in 2005 with five groups; Juhudi, New Pendo, Nyota, Yeriko, and Yerusalemu as a celebration of the ngoma (music, drumming, dance, and storytelling) of the Gogo people in Chamwino. It began, and remains to this day, a festival for the people.

 
Each festival sees an increase in audience numbers and in the quality of performances. In order to perform at the festival each group works through an application and assessment process. This starts with submitting a filled form to the CAC Staff and includes a visit from the same to verify coherence and authenticity. An effort is made to also invite groups from villages and towns that have few performing groups, as well as groups at varied skill levels.

 
The festival is a learning opportunity; new groups can learn from watching more experienced groups and then take that knowledge home. Besides this, children and youth participate in many groups, with a few almost exclusively comprised of young people. This helps ensure the transmission of Gogo ngoma to the younger generation.

 
Besides non-formal educational opportunities, the local community benefits through revenue generated by serving the attendees and performers at each festival. For example, Chamwino hosted 5000 attendees and 600 performers at the 2013 festival. All of everything needed for the festival is always locally sourced.

 
In recent years, the festival has expanded to include groups practicing the ngoma of other peoples in Tanzania and abroad. In 2014, a group from Dhow Countries Music Academy (DCMA) in Zanzibar performed as well as participated in a seminar where ngoma from the Tanzanian coast was fused with Wagogo ngoma. Groups from Tanga, Mwanza, Pwani, the group from DCMA as well as a group from Seattle, WA, USA are participating in the 2015 festival. We look forward to experiencing even more ngoma of other peoples both in Tanzania as well as internationally in future years.

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