Lessons in Tingatinga Painting, Music & Dancing

Lessons in Tingatinga Painting, Music & Dancing

Many of the colourful paintings you see exhibited all over Zanzibar are inspired by, and named after, Tanzanian artist Edward Saidi Tingatinga (1932-72).
He invented his distinctive style in the 1960s by creating brightly coloured pictures using bicycle paint. His motives were animals, plants and village scenes.
The style was taken up by other artists and has since become widely spread in Tanzania and Zanzibar; it is sought after by tourists and collectors alike.

Get an introduction to the intricacies of Tingatinga painting, and create your very own piece of art with the guidance of an experienced arts teacher!

Or learn how to play simple rhythms or melodies on the instruments used in Swahili music, and how to move your body to the sound of African drums!
We can arrrange for you lessons in traditional dancing, drumming and playing a range of traditional instruments like the  qanunThe qanun is a descendent of the old Egyptian harp. It has played an integral part in Arabic music since the 10th century. The word qanun means „law“ in Arabic, and the word exists in English in the form of „canon“. In Arabic music, the qanun lays down the „law“ of pitch for the other instruments.
The qanun consists of a trapezoid-shaped flat board over which 81 strings are stretched. The instrument is placed flat on a table or on the musician's knees; the strings are plucked with the finger or with two plectra, one plectrum attached to the forefinger of each hand.
The qanun was introduced to Europe in the 12th century, where it became known as psaltery or zither.
, the oudThe oud is a wooden string instrument originating from the Middle East, the precursor of lutes (the name is derived from al-oud) and mandolines. With its warm and soulful timbre, it is one of the most popular instruments in Arabic music. Its name comes from the Arabic for „a thin strip of wood“, referring to the strips of wood used to make its rounded body.
Typical is the short fretless neck and the rotund wooden body that is often intricately decorated. Originally it had only four strings, but today it is usually doubly stringed with 2x5 strings and a single bass string. It is usually plucked with a special plectrum called risha (Arabic for „feather“).
, the nayThe nay (Farsi for „reed“) is an open-ended flute that is being widely used in Persian, Arabic and Turkish music. It is essentially a reed pipe with 6 holes in front for the fingers and one underneath for the thumb. Different sounds are being created by blowing while covering or uncovering the holes. By blowing with more or less force, sounds are produced an octave higher or lower.
The nay is an extremely soulful instrument. Its poetical timbre makes it especially suitable for melancholy effects expressing both joy and yearning. It is the only wind instrument used in Arab music, widely appreciated for its warm, breathy sound and its subtle tonal and dynamic inflections.
, tablasThe tabla is a percussion instrument, originating from the Indian subcontinent and widely used in  Indian popular and devotional music. It consists of a pair of hand drums of contrasting sizes and timbres that are played using the fingers as well as the palms to create a great variety of sounds. The term „tabla“ is derived from the Arabic word „tabl“, which simply means „drum“., and more. You can learn the basics on how to play one of these exotic and beautiful instruments in individual lessons or in a small group.
Depending on your interest, some of the history and theory behind TaarabTaarab (from the Arabic word „tarab“, which losely translates as enchantment or ecstasy) is a musical style, blending African, Arabic and Indian elements. Its origins reach back into the 19th century, when Sultan Barghash sent musicians to Egypt to study their music and bring it back to Zanzibar to be performed at his court. Eventually it made its way to the people and spread from Zanzibar all along the Swahili Coast.
Classical Taarab is traditionally played by an orchestra using European instruments (violin, cello, double bass) alongside Arabic ones (qanun, nay, oud) and African drums and percussion. Often the orchestra is accompanied by singers.
There are several Taarab orchestras in Zanzibar that enjoy huge popularity.
 can be included in the lessons.

We are cooperating with the Dhow Countries Music Academy, and the fee for your lessons goes to support the invaluable work they are doing by teaching and promoting Zanzibari music.

Talk to us about it!