Travels with V

Tanzania, Zanzibar & Pemba

Wait…is that a Norwegian tune?

Zanzibar, Stonetown part two

We travelled to Tanzania, but in a weird way it wasn’t our decision to go to that country. It was more in the hands of the Swedish government and its Foreign Services. Sounds peculiar, I know, but it was what it was.

You see, in 2014 we were engaged to be married under a waterfall in Sri Lanka. The following year I asked V to marry me, on one romantic evening under the stars on Cuba. And she said Yes!

First, one more thing about the house where Freddie Mercury grew up. The only visible sign is seen in a basement window, where the have nailed up old black-and-white photos of him. And speaking about photos, by accident we find a cute but slightly bizarre little natural museum in Stonetown. They have a few actual items on display, among them a collection of dead and rather moth-eaten birds. But the greater, and more rewarding for the aesthetical senses is a photo collection of animals and plants on the island. The photographer is a Swede, Dick Persson.


Stonetown’s unique old city is on the UN heritage list, but most hoses are in poor shape, on the brink of collapse and in immediate need of repair. We can see that Sweden is contributing to that need. That’s good!

In the evening we want to listen to some taarab music, a style with both Arabic and African roots, and with Indian influences. We find one place and after having removed our shoes we sit on pillows and eat the food served on a plane on the floor. Three musicians play for us, violin, handdrum and a sort of a zither. The songs slither like in oriental tunes but the rhythm is more African.

Suddenly a familiar tune pops up on the repertoire. It’s extremely similar to an old Norwegian folk tune called “Per spelman”. The language of music is truly international!

You can compare the two for yourself. Here’s “Per Spelmann” by a Norwegian childrens choir:

We leave Stonetown for a couple of lazy days by the sea. And find a little paradise!

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