As one of The Edition’s most anticipated acts to take stage at Chaanaachaa 2019, our writers sit down with local storytelling collective ‘Baburu Seenu’ for exclusive details on ‘must-catch’ unique performance.
“There is a message here; a play on your senses both musical and intellectual that is meant to invoke thought and stir conversation”
As described by two of the nine performers set to grace the live music event ‘Chaanaachaa 2019’ on November 13, Friday in the capital city Male’, there is more than meets the eye when it comes to ‘Baburu Seenu’, one of the most talked about acts within the local artist community, and for good reason.
From their name to the very particular lyrical and acoustic machinations that define them, the storytelling collective is rooted in Maldivian history. In ancient days, sailors and traders journeyed across the archipelago, defecting and shipwrecking along their way. Over time, these immigrants infused the country with far more than just their genealogy.
Originally, the word ‘Baburu’ trails back to references made to the African subcontinent, alluding to Maldives' own subsequent African heritage. However, the term is also used to describe a particular type of tribal drumming within traditional Maldivian ‘Boduberu’ music.
It is widely believed that Boduberu was introduced by African seafarers around the 11th century, a claim further evidenced by similarities in songs a continent over, as well as by infusions of African words in the Dhivehi chants.
Recognizing the significance of this artistic intertwining, the Thaana letter 'Seenu' is incorporated into the collective to represent the word 'Sagaafaiy' (culture).
And so, with that strong emphasis on culture and heritage, the Baburu Seenu’s sound is curated using an array of indigenous instruments from around the world, including the Aboriginal didgeridoo.
“Essentially, it is a 45-minute set that transitions and transforms in rhythm, tone, and beat as the story within unfolds”.
Characterized as more of a world-music genre that translates ethnic rhythms and poetical waxings into something that is both meaningful and entertaining, the Baburu Seenu performance, as the name itself implies, does decidedly revolve around ‘Boduberu’ and more specifically that of ‘Baburu’ beats.
“Right now, it feels like this may be our last performance together in Maldives”, offered Baburu Seenu, as they urged Maldivians to visit their interpretation of indigenous sound, on a trance-inducing audio-visual journey.
The ensemble crew, having perfected their concept and honed skills on the local scene for years, most notably at chapters of ‘Fannu Gathering’, revealed they were now channelling their focus towards possible international performances in the near future.
'Chanaachaa' is scheduled to run from 2100 hours till midnight and will feature live performances by the five acts;
Organizer Ahmed Ishaan (Ishaantay) of 'Dinba Music', explained that the current climate of the local music industry lacks the space necessary to further develop the art of live performance, itself crucial to enhancement of musicians, adding that they are also unable to generate revenue from their talents, an issue driven by public preference for accessing music through free digital platforms.
Moreover, Ishaan pointed out that it is uncommon to see musicians hosting their own shows, except when sponsored by large corporations for their festivities.
"We want to foster the spirit in which an individual band hosts shows and earn for themselves," said the esteemed musician.
Tickets retail at a price of MVR 100. The organizing 'Baiskoafu' team confirmed that while a percentage of the proceeds will be donated to the 'Tiny Heart's' Charity organization, the remaining revenue will be distributed among the performing acts. The entry-tickets are presently sold at ComFood, Meraki Coffee Roasters, Jazz Cafe, Pizza Boana, Kavarna, Rock Chamber, Brine, Island Beach House and at Cafe Al Fresco.