Bi Kidude Honored with World Music Award

Zanzibar, Tanzania – Facing stiff competition from the likes of Peter

Miriam Makeba
and many others, at the recent World Music Expo (WOMEX) in
Gateshead Newcastle UK,

Bi Kidude bint Baraka
of Zanzibar was presented with the WOMEX 2005 Award for her
lifetime achievements and contributions to world music.

WOMEX is the world’s premier networking event exclusively dedicated to
international music of all kinds. WOMEX 2005 took place 26 – 30 October 2005, at
the prestigious Sage Centre in Newcastle Gateshead (UK). Attending were more
than 2100 international professionals, 500 musicians, 320 exhibitors
representing record companies, festival and concert promoters, agents, cultural
institutions, the media and other sectors gathered from more than 84 countries.A moving tribute to

Bi Kidude
was delivered by Banning Eyre, musician, author
and co-editor of the renowned Afropop website and radio programs, in which he
informed delegates that “the singer, well in her nineties yet still sporting
a bonecrushing handshake, received the honours in recognition of her more than
80 years of singing and serving as a cultural mediator and advisor of the
younger generations, including on matters of sex and marriage – a proper symbol
of World Music’s emancipatory, liberating and strengthening power


Bi Kidude
walked on stage to accept her reward, the two thousand WOMEX
delegates gave her a five-minute standing ovation. A proud day it was indeed for
Africa. Many were literally moved to tears as

Bi Kidude
sang unaccompanied and
gave her acceptance speech, which was translated to English by Busara
Promotions’ director Yusuf Mahmoud.

In celebration of

Bi Kidude
’s remarkable life, ScreenStation (UK), in
partnership with Busara Promotions is currently putting finishing touches to a
feature documentary film “As Old As My Tongue – The Myth and Life of Bi
” which will be screened at festivals and cinemas around the world in
2006. Next year also sees the release of a new CD music compilation on Buda
Musique label of Bi Kidude’s greatest recordings, accompanied by Sahib el-Arry,
Zanzibar Taarab All Stars, Culture Musical Club, Afro Arab Grooves and Bi
Kidude’s very own msondo ngoma group. Furthermore, during February 9th- 14th
2006, audiences at the Sauti za Busara Swahili Music Festival in Zanzibar will
have a chance to see a new photographic exhibition centered around Bi Kidude,
specially curated by Roger Armstrong of Globestyle/Ace Records (UK).

[Photo 1 © Koh Okabe. All photos courtesy of Busara Promotions].