Swahili music is a mix of Arabic, Indian and African influences. Known as tarabu, this music has its base on the island of Zanzibar, once the capital of the Swahili sultanate. It uses Middle Eastern, Indian and African drums plus a wide range of stringed instruments to produce a rhythm that is both syncopated and soothing. Originally played at weddings or community entertainments, tarabu uses a distinctly Arab vocal range that calls to mind the Swahili Coast's hot sun and spicy food.

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