2004 – 2005

Eight female artists, four from Norway, four from four different African countries, met with a band of Tanzanian musicians in Dar Es Salaam in 2004 and 2005 to create music together for the CD “Women Care”. The musical workshop was created by Nedland Kultur, who had been approached  by Care International Norway with a request to help them celebrate womanhood and the imporance of women in the many projects the Care organisation is doing around the world, and to promote their slogan “It helps more to help women”.

Nedland Kultur recruited four African ladies to the project, all singer/songwriters. Marie Daulne from the famous group Zap Mama represents the Congo, as well as her second home country Belgium. Tigist Bekele, a singer from the rich musical tradition of Ethiopia. Chiwoniso Maraire, a leading artist from Zimbabwe, singing and playing the mbira, and Talike from Madagascar bringing her local music traditions, percussion instruments and singing styles into the mix.

Norwegian participants in the project were Unni Wilhelmsen, one of Norway’s leading singer/songwriters, Anneli Drecker founding member of the famous group Bel Canto, as well as solo artist and actress, Lynni Treekrem, one of Norway’s most individual and characteristic voices, and Simone from the highly acclaimed jazz/soul/funk/rock group D’Sound.

The challenge.

The aim of the project was to create a fully rounded album of music and lyrics with equal inputs from eight highly individual lady artists. A challenge that had to be met by creating an environment that would encourage collaboration and merging of ideas to form a homogenous expression, still leaving lots of room for individuality. 

The risk was that the album might sound like a bad compilation album, pointing in all directions and lacking coherence. It seemed necessary to bring in some regulations and mesures to ensure that everyone pulled in the same direction.

One important measure was that everybody would record with the same band of Tanzanian musicians, with a rather unusual line-up: Norman Bikaka and Keppy Kiombile, guitar and bass, Esrom Rudala, ngomas (Tanznaian drums) and vocal, Anania Ngoriga, kalimba, and Salum Kumpeneka, djembe. This seemed to work well, as the resulting CD was received by reviewers as a coherent, fully rounded product showing the very different aspects of the participant’s styles, but being pulled together by the collaborative efforts and the similarity in instrumentation.

The whole Women Care musical team is lined up on stage in Oslo for the release concert of the project, hosted by Care International in Norway and the record company KKV, who released the CD. The concert was held at Kulturkirken Jacob, a former church converted into a concert hall, as well as housing the headquarters of the record company. The chuch crypt is used as an exhibition hall where photos from Africa by the famous Norwegian photographer Morten Krogvold were exhibited.

The ZIFF festival in Zanzibar invited Women Care to perform during their July 2005 festival, and the group performed the songs from the album on stage at the beautiful old fort in Stone Town on the 2nd of July 2005.
ater the same year, Women Care were invited to play at a large music event organised by YARA in central Oslo. Here they performed alongside Angélique Kidjo, Mari Boine and more. The YARA Concert took place on Saturday, September 2nd 2005.