Founded in the 1980s
The state national ensemble of Tanzania, also called "Bagamoyo Players", was founded in the 1980s and until 2009 was an association of musicians and dancers from the Bagamoyo College of Arts.
All members of the ensemble were active as students or faculty at the college.
The national ensemble of Tanzania played i.a. in the USA, Canada, Japan, China, New Zealand, Australia, Korea, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, France, England, Italy, Germany, Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Jordan etc.
Cooperation with Sting and Peter Gabriel
As one of three African groups, the musicians of the ensemble were involved in the major world music project "One World one Voice" with Peter Gabriel and Sting.
TV appearances with longer concert recordings in Scandinavia and Japan took place in several countries. In Germany reported i.a. der TV-"Kulturweltspiegel" about the work of the group.
New foundation in 2019
The ensemble did not exist for about 10 years. The permanently necessary rejuvenation process was missed, qualitatively excellent groups from other African countries, especially from South Africa, now played at the Africa festivals in Europe. The Bagamoyo Players were only re-founded in 2019 after Dr. Herbert Makoye took office as head of the institute.
Promotion of Tanzanian art and culture
The task of the Bagamoyo Players is currently described as follows:
- Promotion of Tanzanian art and culture at various cultural events at home and abroad
- Creation of interest, awareness and love of Tanzanians for their own culture
- Tours and performances in remote and remote parts of the country
Many appearances in Germany until 2009
In Germany, the group has so far performed in the following federal states: North Rhine-Westphalia, Berlin (including House of World Cultures), Hesse, Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Saxony-Anhalt, Schleswig Holstein, Lower Saxony, Bremen and Hamburg as well as in the context of Documenta in Kassel and in front of around 40,000 spectators in the Africa pavilion at EXPO 2000 in Hanover.
The ensemble's program used to consist exclusively of traditional dances and pieces of music, as well as plays and musicals. The traditional Tanzanian dance, often initiation, hunting or harvest dances, is particularly impressive because of its use of movement, which contains many acrobatic elements.
The new ensemble (since 2019) also strives for more modern choreographies and compositions.
Contributions to the development of the country
In accordance with their claim not only to research, develop, teach and perform art, but also to make a contribution to the development of Tanzania, the ensemble occasionally works (today on the basis of project funding) a musical or a play that is significant for the development of your country.
Topics of such performances were and are e.g. HIV/AIDS, malaria, corruption, albino murders or the role of women. These pieces are then performed (often sponsored or commissioned by foreign sponsors) in the rural regions of the country. This work has been referred to as the "African Artistic Mindset" by the former director of Bagamoyo College of Arts, Rashid Masimbi.
Bagamoyo Friendship Society/Germany supported the production of the CD "Tanzania" by the Bagamoyo Players and distributed the CD. It is now out of print, but it is available from Amazon in a used condition. Other CDs with members of the Bagamoyo Players include produced in England, France and Japan.
In autumn 2005, at the invitation of Bagamoyo Friendship Society/Germany, the Bagamoyo Players went on tour of Germany with a play on the 100th anniversary of the Maji-Maji uprising against German colonial rule.
Members of the Bagamoyo Players in Germany every summer
Every year the Ahlen Adult Education Center (VHS Ahlen) and Bagamoyo Friendship Society/Germany organize a multi-day workshop "Traditional Dance from Tanzania" with members of the Bagamoyo Players before the German summer vacation.