The term Swahili is representative of the populace and the culture that exists on the East coast of Africa. This primarily includes the coastal areas and islands of Kenya, Tanzania and north Mozambique. The word Swahili is comes from the Arabic word Sawahil, which implies ‘coastal dwellers’. The populace of this region speaks the language of Swahili. However, there are not too many ethnic Swahilis existing.
Throughout their cultural history, composing Swahili songs has been of great importance. In fact, music has been part of their life. They have put their poetry based on daily life into musical compositions. Even though the songs maybe in their language, yet some of them have made it to the international charts. This is a great achievement for a relatively smaller race of people.
Taarab is the most popular genre of Swahili music. The popular Taraab singers are:
– Siti binti Saad from Zanzibar
– Bi Kidude from Zanzibar
– Asha Abdow Saleebaan ‘Malika’ from Somalia
– Suhura Swaleh from Mombasa
Given here is a selection of some of the popular Swahili music compositions:
– Jambo, Jambo Bwana
– Malaika, Nakupenda Malaika
– Watoto Wetu
– Babu Bibi
– Kiswahili Kitukuzwe
– Sikiliza Mama