The combined experienve in living in two cultures, Tanzanian and Finnish, has played a part in my creativity which led me to undertake this doctoral degree. I came to Finland already equipped with my artistic skills and education with my artistic skills and education from home, but experiencing a new environment and a different culture has developed me as an artist. It has broadened my perspective on creativity and it has broadened my artistic imagination. Here in Finland I discovered the kantele. With this instrument, I have invented a concrete new style of music to chich I have given the name Chizentele, and established a two-piece band, PolePole, to play this style. I have performed this new style Chizentele in all of my doctoral recitals.
The skills and knowledge that I inherited from my parents and obtained from other sources – from school, society, the Bagamoyo College of Arts in Tanzania, the Department of Folk Music at the Sibelius Academy in Finland, various experiences of living in different culture, the experience of working with other artists, and observations of other people’s work – have given me the capacity as an artist to see and do things as a whole, especially while I am creating my art. In this document I will explain how I arrived at this holistic conception of artistry through cross-cultural experience.”
The aim of this written work is to illustrate the path I have taken in my life, to show how and where I have acquired the artistic skills and knowledge which enabled me to become a dancer, singer, musician, song writer, dance choreographer and composer. This includes skills and knowledge which contributed to my artistic doctoral performances: to combine music, dance, songs, acting and story-telling together as well as to create a fusion of Tanzanian and Finnish traditional music, dance and songs. In my five doctoral performances I have integrated this intercultural and holistic artistry in practice and demonstrated all my creative potential. I have not only performed (as a singer, dancer, musician and story-teller), but also composed, wrote the scripts, planned the choreography, and directed all five concerts. The first was a solo performance and the other four were offered with the cooperation of different working groups. Furthermore, this work includes reflection on my extensive cross-cultural experience of working as a performing artist and a teacher, experience that I hope may offer insights of benefit to other developing artists.
Keywords: ngoma, Tanzanian traditional music, kantele, story telling, folk dance, folk music, choreography