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Martha's Vineyard Museum J. Halpin

Music of Zanzibar, "Swahili Bina Adamu"

Located in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Tanzania in eastern Africa, Zanzibar is an archipelago made up of two islands (Zanzibar and Pemba) and several islets. It is an island state within the United Republic of Tanzania, about 25 miles from the mainland. Zanzibar island, with its historic Stone Town, is approximately 650 square miles and is fringed with coral reefs. Close to the equator, Zanzibar has a tropical climate, and has two "summer seasons, June and December. It has a rainy season, known as the "green season" in April and May. Zanzibar lured traders, explorers and whalemen throughout the centuries. Whalers, traveling east, around the Cape of Good Hope in Africa would stop in Zanzibar to re-provision.

Music heard in Zanzibar has a middle eastern sound, rather than African. The Swahili, who inhabited the region were traditional seafarers and were in contact with Islamic culture to the north. To hear a clip of music from Zanzibar, "Swahili Bina Adamu" click the "play music" button above.

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