Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Bill Duke's 'Dark Girls' Follow-up, 'Light Girls,' Gets a First Trailer & Release date (Heading to OWN) Bill Duke's 'Dark Girls' Follow-up, 'Light Girls,' Gets a First Trailer & Release date (Heading to OWN) Watch Trailer for Romcom 'With This Ring' (Regina Hall, Jill Scott, Eve Star - Coming January 2015) Watch Trailer for Romcom 'With This Ring' (Regina Hall, Jill Scott, Eve Star - Coming January 2015) Here Are the Top 10 Grossing "Black Films" of 2014... How Many of Them Did You See? Here Are the Top 10 Grossing "Black Films" of 2014... How Many of Them Did You See? Debbie Allen & Phylicia Rashad Sign Up for 'Arsenic and Old Lace' Playing the Brewster Sisters Debbie Allen & Phylicia Rashad Sign Up for 'Arsenic and Old Lace' Playing the Brewster Sisters Weekend B.O. Dec. 19-21 (Sony's Grateful for Small Blessings, while Paramount Blew it) Weekend B.O. Dec. 19-21 (Sony's Grateful for Small Blessings, while Paramount Blew it) Ava DuVernay Has Multi-Episode TV Series on "Black Experience in America" in the Works Ava DuVernay Has Multi-Episode TV Series on "Black Experience in America" in the Works Sony Hack Reveals the Insufferable Whiteness of Hollywood Sony Hack Reveals the Insufferable Whiteness of Hollywood Preview: Jessica Williams of 'The Daily Show' Makes Leading Lady Debut in 'Tap Shoes & Violins' Preview: Jessica Williams of 'The Daily Show' Makes Leading Lady Debut in 'Tap Shoes & Violins' '106 & PARK' Says Goodbye Today, Dec 19 at 6pm, w/ Live, 2-hour, Star-Studded Finale! '106 & PARK' Says Goodbye Today, Dec 19 at 6pm, w/ Live, 2-hour, Star-Studded Finale! First Image of Queen Latifah as Bessie Smith in Upcoming HBO Biopic First Image of Queen Latifah as Bessie Smith in Upcoming HBO Biopic The Best of Black Television in 2014 The Best of Black Television in 2014 Review: Chris Rock's 'Top Five' Took Me Places I Wouldn't Expect a Chris Rock Film to Go Review: Chris Rock's 'Top Five' Took Me Places I Wouldn't Expect a Chris Rock Film to Go The Gift That Keeps on Giving - Leaked Sony Email Challenges Denzel Washington's Overseas Box Office Appeal The Gift That Keeps on Giving - Leaked Sony Email Challenges Denzel Washington's Overseas Box Office Appeal Backlash Against New VH1 Series 'Sorority Sisters' Backlash Against New VH1 Series 'Sorority Sisters' Why Aren’t We Talking About the Sexual Assault in 'Beyond the Lights'? Why Aren’t We Talking About the Sexual Assault in 'Beyond the Lights'? Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

Legendary Zanzibari Singer Bi Kidude Is Dead - Watch Doc Portrait 'As Old As My Tongue'

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act April 23, 2013 at 8:41PM

An institution and musical legend, Zanzibari singer Fatuma binti Baraka, known as Bi Kidude, meaning "Little Thing" in Swahili, died last week Wednesday (April 17th) in her home.
3
Bi Kidude

An institution and musical legend, Zanzibari singer Fatuma binti Baraka, known as Bi Kidude, meaning "Little Thing" in Swahili, died last week Wednesday (April 17th) in her home.

No one knows exactly how old the singer and drummer was when she died - reports range between her late 90s to well over 100 years old – but she started her singing career in the 1920s, and left a unique musical legacy which fused African and Arabic culture into what became Taarab music.

Known for her haunting voice and energetic performances despite her age, she performed and toured up until very recently before she died.

A diminutive figure, watching her performances online (which I've been mesmerized by for the last hour or so), she displayed a strength and energy, which impresses, given how old she's believed to be - for example, forcefully beating a large drum clamped between her legs, and while singing. 

In 2005, Bi Kidude received the prestigious World Music Expo (WOMEX) award for her outstanding contribution to music (in recognition of her 80 years as a singer) and culture in Zanzibar (her role as cultural ambassador for Zanzibar, and advisor to younger generations globally).

According to WOMEX, her 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 immediately warmed up to the songstress with her wit and voice. 

And since then, she's traveled the world, far and wide, leaving a remarkable, indelible impression on all she met and performed in front of.

You'll find a few comprehensive obituaries of Kidude online penned by those who are far more familiar, some personally-so, with her and her music than I am.

And as I learned while researching Kidude, a documentary film on her life exists! 

Titled As Old As My Tongue: The Myth And Life Of Bi Kidude, the documentary feature, directed by UK filmmaker Andy Jones, was released in 2006 by ScreenStation, as a portrait of the legend in her home island of Zanzibar.

It screened at film festivals around the world, and was eventually released on DVD (at least in the UK) in 2009. Amazon merchants have it for sale HERE. Or you can contact the company that released it or the filmmaker via the film's still-existing website HERE

Given that it appears to be the only film about Kidude ever produced (although I could be wrong about that), I'm sure Andy Jones and ScreenStation are probably fielding lots of phone calls and emails about it right about now.

Here's a 7-minute preview of the documentary (you'll also find many clips of her performing on YouTube, which I encourage you to watch, and familiarize yourself with her music at least):


Shadow & ActNewsletter