In April, 2004, Crown Prince Haakon Magnus of Norway was on an official visit to Tanzania. The Royal Norwegian Embassy in Dar Es Salaam asked Nedland Kultur to provide a musical performance during the visit. Their original idea was to bring a Norwegian band to play a concert in Tanzania, that the Crown Prince would visit. Nedland Kultur, however, suggested that it would be better to create an event where Tanzanian and Norwegian musicians could create a musical program together, to be presented at one of the events where the Crown Prince would be present. Thus it happened that on Friday, April 23rd 2004, Crown Prince Haakon Magnus was entering a big party tent put up on a grass lawn at the shore of the Indian Ocean just north of Dar Es Salaam, to hear five Tanzanian and three Norwegian musicians/singers play together.
A week ahead of the concert, the Norwegian musicians and singers Per Martinsen, Aggie Frost and Helene Bøksle arrived in Dar Es Salaam. The Tanzanian musicians Esrom “Bob” Rudala, Anania Ngoriga, Moshi Bakuza Ntakana and Salum Kumpeneka joined them at Marimba Studio where they put together and rehearsed the concert program, with inputs from all the musicians involved. The program was a modern and challenging mix of Norwegian traditional songs, African rhythms and instruments, electronics and machines, featuring the vocal talents of the singers Aggie and Helene.
Left: Crown Prince Haakon meeting two of the Tanznaian musicians: Anania Ngoriga and Esrom Rudala. Below: Rehearsals took place in Marimba Studio in Dar Es Salaam.
It is a well known fact that Crown Prince Haakon Magnus’ musical tastes are very modern, and that he is a fan of several artists in the field of electronic music, and this had been taken into considereation by producer Sigbjørn Nedland when selecting the musicians and developing the concept for the concert repertoire. Therefore, the seven musicians were fairly sure of catching the Crown Prince’s interest with at least some of the music they developed together in an intense week of creative processes and rehearsals. The performance would take place during a reception in a party tent erected on a grass lawn overlooking the Indian Ocean on the Msasani Peninsula, just north of central Dar Es Salaam. The Crown Prince and his entourage would arrive, greet and talk to some 200 official guests, then the band would play the first half of the concert, and the Crown Prince would leave to make it to the next meeting, as he was having a very busy agenda. Then the band would play on for the crowd of official guests.
The Crown Prince, however, caused some desperation within the organising committee for the official visit to Tanzania, as he decided he liked the music so much that he wanted to stay for the last part of the concert too. Not only did he stay until the end of the concert, but he also took time to meet the artists and have a talk with them afterwards, before he went on to attend to the rest of his tasks that day – some 60 minutes delayed..
But, as you can see from the e-mail we received some days after the concert, even the Ambassador and the staff at the Norwegian Embassy forgave us for the disturbance we created in the official program:
Translation: “We just wanted to send you a greeting to
thank you for your efforts during the Crown
Prince’s visit to Tanzania. As you saw, the
Crown Prince very much appreciate the music
performances. I think they were right up
his street, and he actually wanted more than
what we had originally envisaged.
I have got positive responses also from other
guests at the reception (especially from the
younger part of the crowd).”