Espen Sørensen

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participation in

  • WOMEX 2016
  • WOMEX 2015
  • WOMEX 2013
  • WOMEX 2011
  • WOMEX 2009

Espen Sorensen has been closely connected to the East African music scene since 1995; as a performing and recording artist, a producer, and events organizer. He has established a monthly event in Dar es Salaam called THE BEAT FESTIVAL through collaboration with Goethe Institut. Recently he has embarked on teaching a music business program for the EU funded Music Mayday school in Tanzania. He runs a small studio and record label and divides his time between these management roles and a career as performing artist under the name Mzungu Kichaa.

Mzungu Kichaa was born in Denmark and grew up in Africa. He is one of the pioneers of African Bongo Flava and still remains a leading figure on the East African scene. He has recorded with Juma Nature, TID, Mangwair, Ferooz and many others since the late 90s while he was recording at Bongo Records in Tanzania. With the release of 'Mambo ya pwani' he topped the East Africa charts in 2001. This song was one of the first songs to take traditional Tanzanian music and fuse it with hip-hop. During his promotional tour at the begining of this year he performed and featured on radio and tv in Mombasa, Nairobi, Arusha, Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar. His tour was a big success which was reflected on the response he got from the media including titles such as; "Mzungu Kichaa drives Dar crowd mad" The Citizen, and "Kichaa has brought a new meaning to the word crazy" The Guardian. His performance on the Friday Night Live show was viewed by over 100 million people in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.

He has recently established a record label called Caravan Records on which he has release his debut album 'Tuko Pamoja'. The album features Proffessor Jay and Mwasiti. On his Single oYa oYa, Kichaa boasts of his musical achievents from performing alongside some of the biggest Congolese artists, to playing violin in the legendary Taarab Orchestra from Zanzibar called Naadhi Ikhwani Safaa (an Orchestra that blends Arab and Swahili styles). The Song also describes his experiences living with the Maasai where he learn't the Maasai language and took part in the Maasai culture. He still has a herd of cattle which are being looked after by members of his age set.

Mzungu Kichaa which means the Crazy White Man was a name that he received in his early days on the Tanzanian underground scene. The name provokes and questions the meaning of being crazy. Kichaa wants to bring awareness to African music and in particular to the powerful youth music of East Africa. Mzungu Kichaa is a pioneer of one of the biggest contemporary genres in africa. With a foot in both Africa and the west, Kichaa is able to transcend barriers and build a bridge between cultures. Kichaa reinforces the concept of music as a universal language.

Espen Sorensen aka Mzungu Kichaa holds a BA in ethnomusicology and a Masters in African Studies. In 2006 he founded the group EFFIGONG. In 2008 he decided to go solo and release an album in Swahili for his fans in East Africa and the diaspora. This has resulted in 10 original and inspiring songs that speak out about political injustice, poverty, inequality and ways in which we can unite for a better world. Tuko Pamoja!!

Espen Sørensen

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