Taarab Music and Ngoma in Zanzibar

Taarab Music

Taarab is a form of local music in Zanzibar that is a mix of sounds and styles from India, Arabia, and Africa. Taarab shows are as much about audience participation as they are about music. Although the music may be a bit harsh for Western ears, the show itself is great theater. The audience howls at the antics of the other audience members and the Taarab singer carries on with the back up of a forty-piece band that includes horns, strings, and drums.

Below is an example of taarab music 🙂

Check the Old Fort for performances and check with hotel and restaurant staff to see if shows have been announced on the radio.



Ngoma is traditional African dance and singing accompanied by fast rhythmic drumming. There are performances around the island but they can be difficult to be found. Try the Old Fort in town and ask hotels and restaurants. Some restaurants feature Ngoma on certain night. Local shows are much longer than Western shows; a Taarab/Ngoma night’s schedule may last five hours. Ngoma was originally performed at weddings, harvest festivals, circumcision ceremonies and other celebrations.


Ready for Zanzibar?

African vibes everywhere! Chilling summer moments!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s