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By Alex Perullo
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Indiana University Press, 2011

ISBN 978-0-253-22292-3

496 Pages

PURL 7.1 | Performance: Simba Theatre, “Sindimba”

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Media reference: pg. 288   

About this recording

The last ngoma in the performance of Simba Theatre is called "Sindimba." It is an ngoma of the Makonde peoples and is often used as part of initiation rights. The song was popular in Tanzanian schools during the 1960s and 1970s.

This is a participatory style of dance in which drummers and audience members join in the dancing, a practice more typical of traditional ngoma that does not make a clear distinction between audience and performer. In this performance, the group does not pull members of the audience onstage as they have done at other concerts.

During this performance, listen for the lead drum, played by Jamed Mbunju, to signal the dancers to change their movements. Mbunju can be seen both kneeling in front of a drum and holding the drum between his legs while standing toward the back of the stage.

Simba Theatre is a popular group that performs ngoma music from all over Tanzania. Ngoma music is the traditional music and dance of Tanzania. The performers are drummers James Mbunju (leader of the group), Athumani Ally, Hamed Nancheketa, and Khalid Chiamba; and dancers Franco Mpangala, Hussein Pipi, Salum Francis, Mwanakhamisi Rashid, Angela John, Suzy, Mwahija Mohamed, and Zawadi.

Nyumba ya Sanaa is an "art house" located in downtown Dar es Salaam, next to the Movenpick Royal Palm (formerly the Sheraton Hotel). The Nyumba ya Sanaa was renamed the Mwalimu Nyerere Cultural Centre around 2002, but is still commonly referred to by its original name. The organization that runs the Nyumba ya Sanaa is a nonprofit organization established by former president Julius Nyerere and the CCM (Chama cha Mapinduzi/Revolutionary Party) government to promote the traditional arts of the country. It sells art and crafts, and features plays and music throughout the week. Simba Theatre practices throughout the week at the Nyumba ya Sanaa and usually performs once or twice a week.

For other videos from this event, see PURLs 2.2 and A.7.