Mapanya Band is an energetic, young and dynamic, ‘you’ve- gotta-dance-to-it’ band that started while the bandsmen were students at the DCMA. The seven musicians, some from mainland Tanzania and some from Zanzibar with different backgrounds and spectacularly exciting differing musical styles, fused their great musics and started the Mapanya Band in 2015.
Mapanya in Swahili means “rats”. . Mapanya are animals which can never relax, and similarly, the musicians are always searching – for new ways of presenting themselves, for different tastes, different ideas to make more exciting music. And like the panya, the Mapanya Band is always destroying things, always breaking things into pieces, namely musical styles. However, difference from the animal rats, Mapanya Band breaks things up in order to build them up again and create something very new and exciting: the Mapanya style! Mapanya Band sound is unique and difficult for other bands to surpass.
It’s a dynamic mix of reggae, soul, R & B, Afro-fusion, Arabic and especially taarab music styles, with hints of Latin and Indian music and lots of hip-hop influences. One of the special characteristics of the seven musicians’ style is the wonderful balance of their voices, every one singing in ways they were used to from childhood in different types of Islamic singing, church hymn singing, local African traditional singing from Bagamoyo along the mainland at the Indian Ocean coast and from Zanzibari singing traditions. Excitingly, the Mapanya style is still filled with new developments. And – all the members sing, drum, play guitar and – dance! So get their audiences up off of their seats to start dancing too!
In their songs Mapanya tell about a better Africa – a peaceful continent, rich in nature and traditions where people should help each other to fight diseases (e.g., “Malaria”), poverty and other problems of the community. They give messages to young people to believe in themselves, to trust and improve their talents to become responsible adults, and to find their way through puberty and growing up, e.g., “Berinda”. There are also wonderful and touching love songs like “Uhondo”.
Mapanya has given very successful performances at the Zanzibar International Film Festival in 2016 and 2017, the Nafasi Art Space in Dar Es Salaam in 2017, the Bagamoyo Festival of the Arts in 2017, the DCMA Special Edi Concert in the Old Fort, Stone Town, Zanzibar also in 2017 and the renowned Sauti za Busara Festival in 2018. In 2017 they recorded a very well received demo CD “From Bagamoyo to Zanzibar”.
Richard Lumambo (guitar, vocals), from Bagamoyo, started his guitar playing learning local “street style” music. At age 7 he composed his first songs,
Juma Baraka (keyboard, vocals) is a studio-musician from Dar es Salaam who studied keyboard at DCMA,
Salum Mpute (bass guitar, vocals) is a well-known musician from Bagamoyo, having played and danced in concerts with local bands from this coastal community from the age of 6.
Japhet Vicent (guitar, vocals) from Zanzibar sang as a very young boy in church choirs. He started to learn guitar at age 11 and also studied music production in Zanzibar.
Ferdinand Ngomoi (percussion, vocals) studied for the DCMA-diploma in violin, but decided that the n’goma drum is now his favourite instrument. Ferdinand is from the land of Kilimanjaro in northern Tanzania;
James Clemence (drums, vocals) has been playing traditional drums since early childhood. He studied drum-kit at DCMA, now he is a teacher
Tryphon Evarist (accordion, vocals), from Zanzibar, also plays traditional taarab and likes to develop new styles on his accordion which gives the music of Mapanya its unique sound.