The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Finland grant to Art in Tanzania has helped us to collect children songs as project name ‘mamas songs’. The mamas songs project aims to collect traditional music, sang in tribal languages, from various areas of Tanzania, specifically lullabies and songs for children, as well as songs for special occasions and ceremonies. This website has been created so that the Tanzanian people, as well as foreign people, can hear and learn about the various aspects of their countries musical culture and to preserve musical traditions. As all of the material on this site is downloadable free of charge, we encourage people to use the resources for teaching and singing in schools.
There are around 130 tribes in Tanzania, each with it’s own unique language, religion and social system, although Swahili is also commonly spoken in these tribes. Songs have been collected from various tribes in order to display the musical and cultural differences between them. Some of the music shown on this site is in the form of a traditional lullaby, with the mother is singing to the child. However, some of the pieces are to be sung in larger Tanzania children songsgroups (recordings may not reflect this, but where this is the case it is noted). Although the main focus of the mamas songs project was to collect lullabies and children’s songs sang by women, we have also branched out into male singers and adult songs for special events and ceremonies.
As well as traditional tribal songs, the project has also gathered Swahili children’s songs. This is different in the sense that Swahili is the official language of Tanzania and hence the music gathered in Swahili may be more modern and universal, as oppose to the more unique tribal music.
For some of the songs we have managed to create notation, which has not been available before, due to the free nature of the music and the inability of the people to notate music. Although we have not managed to notate all of the music, some example songs are accompanied by notation. Most of the songs have also been translated into Swahili and English, so that the listener can gain a greater understanding of the meaning of the music.
We wish to constantly expand this website and find more music. If you would like to help us please send us more songs and ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org