Yesterday, Zanzibari singer Bi Kidude died at the age of 102. A truly untameable spirit, she was a true inspiration for me as an artist, as a woman, and as a human. Amongst the first women to sing publicly in Zanzibar, she lived her life as an independent musician at a time when not even many men would dare. She ran away from home at the age of 10 and lived a life on her own terms ever since.
Musically she is perhaps best known for her work in the ceremonial women’s music of Unyago, but she crossed over from traditional women’s music to the boys club of classical Taraab music and back again demanding respect from both old and young alike based on the power of her talents and force of spirit. I’m not going to go into a lot of detail about her life, I just wanted to share a little bit of her sound with you all so we can take a moment and remember the spirit of a great artist.
(don’t miss what she has to say about the role of the singer in taraab music at 3:32 marker)