18-04-13: It is with great sadness that we hear of the death of legendary singer Bi Kidude (Tanzania) on Wednesday, 17 April 2013.

"Born the daughter of a coconut creeper in the early decades of the twentieth century as Fatma bint Baraka, she acquired her nickname Kidude (meaning little thing) at an early age due to her diminutive size. As a child she would run away from home to the listen to the famous singer Siti Bint Saad, the first Zanzibari woman to record on the EMI label in the late 1920s. Bi Kidude would continue to perform the songs of Siti for many many years, making them her own and bringing them to new audiences around the world.

"...Bi Kidude’s big break came in 1989 when she was part of a group from Zanzibar who visited Germany performing as a member of Mohamed Ilyas’ group ‘Twinkling Stars’. European audiences warmed immediately to the diminutive songstress with her warm wit and robust voice. For the rest of her life she travelled far and wide, to Europe, Japan and across Africa, leaving a remarkable impression on all she met.

"In 2005, Bi Kidude received a lifetime achievement award from the international World Music conference WOMEX in recognition of her 80 years of singing, and also her role as cultural ambassador for Zanzibar, and advisor to younger generations. A documentary film, As Old As My Tongue was released in 2006 by ScreenStation, winning many awards and screening on television around the world. In her later life she collaborated with many musicians, including Taj Mahal, and also hip hop artist Ahmadi, starring in the first Swahili video to reach a million hits on Youtube..."
Andy Jones, ScreenStation (UK)

(Photo by Eric (HASH) Hersman [cc-by-2.0])


Bi Kidude

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