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Main stage

The Zawose Queens is a unique music band from Tanzania that is gaining more and more recognition on the international music scene. It is led by Pendo and Leah Zawose, who draw deeply from the rich musical heritage of their country. They continue the work of their famous family, which has been cultivating the traditions of the Gogo (Wagogo) tribe for generations. The most famous representative of this musical culture was the late Dr. Hukwe Zawose – an already legendary figure, known for his five-octave voice and the characteristic headgear in which he performed (Pendo’s father and Leah’s grandfather).

Both ladies are talented vocalists and instrumentalists who combine their skills to create music that is a bridge between tradition and modernity. Their repertoire includes both traditional Gogo songs and new compositions in which they boldly experiment with various musical genres. Their music is characterized by both spirituality and fiery energy. We have electronics, elements of polyrhythm and amazing vocal polyphonies. The sounds of traditional instruments also appear: the trance-inducing fidel chizeze, the mbira-like illimba, characterized by a deep resonant sound that fits perfectly with the harmonic vocals, and ngoma – traditional drums that constitute the rhythmic basis of many of the band’s songs.

Their music tells stories about everyday life, love, nature and community, and conveys the wisdom of their ancestors. The band is not afraid to experiment, introducing elements of contemporary music into their songs, which makes their work both deeply rooted in tradition, as well as fresh and innovative. The legendary Real World Records label is responsible for their debut album titled “Maisha”.


Pendo Zawose – vocal, chizeze, illimba, ngoma

Leah Zawose – vocal, chizeze, illimba, ngoma

Oli Barton Wood – live electronics

Tom Excell – guitar

Ben Brown – drums, percussion

Finn Calum – bass