The Mtendeni Maulid Ensemble performs a visually arresting style of Sufi religious devotion called Maulidi ya Homu in Zanzibar. The form has roots in the ancient Arab world, but today survives only in Zanzibar. Maulidi ya Homu is associated with the tariqa 'Sufi order or brotherhood' founded by Ahmad al-Rifa'i. The Rifa'iyya originating in Egypt has spread over the Near East, but also as far as Indonesia, the Comoros, and Zanzibar. The form of Maulidi ya Homu performed today is thought to have originated from Iraq and came to Zanzibar around 1800. Over time the performance has become distinctly Zanzibari blending local ngoma traditions with more general Islamic elements.
The music of the Mtendeni Maulid Sufi ensemble from Zanzibar was a glorious gumbo of raw African and refined Islamic sounds. Their formation dancing, with two rows of fez-sporting men, was the most bizarre and beautiful evocation of the sea by a group of human bodies I've ever seen. [Andy Morgan, The Independent, 21.06.2010]