Private Project

Singeli Movement: Greed for Speed

Singeli, a super-fast electronic music genre, was born at the turn of the century in the Mburahati slum of Dar es Salaam, when, after 40 years of building a socialist economy, Tanzania began implementing capitalist reforms. Singeli's creators come from the first generation that lives in this new reality. This film looks at how ambition and dreams of stardom bloom in artists who grew up in the clash between the altruism of past socialist times and the competitiveness of capitalist acceleration.

  • Jan Moss
  • Maciej Mądracki
  • Jan Moss
  • Jan Moszumański
  • Jan Moss
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    60 minutes 29 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 8, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    13,000 EUR
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
    Ghana, Poland, Tanzania, United Republic of
  • Language:
    English, Swahili
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital HD
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Norient Festival
    January 12, 2023
    World Premiere
  • CTM Festival
    February 1, 2023
    Official Selection
  • Doclisboa
    October 20, 2023
Distribution Information
  • none yet
Director Biography - Jan Moss

A visual artist who uses film, sculpture and sound. He studied fine arts at the academies in Krakow, Oslo and Malmö. He is interested in the emotional and aesthetic landscape of contemporary ideological systems (e.g. the role of the sublime in conditioning social needs and its recognition in monuments, or the commodification of the experience of fear in nineteenth-century horror literature, i.e. the relationship between fog and smog).

In 2019 he devoted the exhibition at the Center for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle "Othering. The study of pressures" to the issues of sustainable development, human immoderation and pride, and the cycles of self-regulation of nature.

He worked as a content consultant in the implementation of projects for documenta13 in Athens and Kassel, the National Museum in Barcelona, Harvard University in Cambridge and as an assistant in the projects of the Architecture Biennale in Venice and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2015-2018, he was a lecturer at the Faculty of Radio and Television at the University of Silesia. Occasionally adopts the alias Jan Moss. Selected individual exhibitions: Handbook for city dwellers, Krakow (2017), Noplace, Oslo (2017), Hotel Pro Forma, Copenhagen (2016) and group exhibitions: Ghetto Biennale, Port-au-Prince (2018), Kunstverein am Rosa Luxemburg Platz, Berlin (2016), Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw (2016), Futura, Prague (2015), National Gallery, Ulan Bator (2014).

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Among the African countries, Tanzania is considered one of the most successful in decolonization. With the departure of the British in 1961, the government of Julius Nyerere seized power. He built the state on the basis of the philosophy of "familyhood" (swa. "Ujamaa"), in a broader sense encompassing not only the loved ones but also the entire society. This state did not repeat the mistakes of many neighbors and did not create pathologies in the form of wars, corruption, hunger or an explosion of social injustice. Internationally, Nyerere was one of the most prominent defenders of the interests of third world countries. After his death in 1999, Tanzania gave up its unique policies to implement liberal-capitalist reforms.

While the music of the Ujamaa generation is slow and dignified Taarabu, the generation of transformation has created Singeli - a genre with a rate of over 200 beats per minute and vigorously spit out vocals. This sudden acceleration in music seems symptomatic of the moods present in similar social circumstances, where there is an imperative to work beyond one's own strength, haste, strong competition and individualism. The discrepancy between the remnant ideals of Ujamaa's philosophy and the new capitalist reality is perfectly represented in Singeli music, which makes it unique. Singeli artists represent a modest attitude full of concern for the local community and call for cooperative action. They often talk about educating the audience. They deal with topics that are universal and different from the message of western rap music: instead of cult of money here we find mindfulness regarding obligations, stories of everyday hardships and the struggle with poverty. Singeli is the music of political transformation, which talks about its benefits and costs. And this issue is for the author, as a person born at a time when similar changes were taking place in Eastern Europe, personally important. For many viewers, the reflection in the mirror of a country with a less privileged position may allow them to understand the genealogy of their own axioms and the universal mechanisms to which those who try to break out of poverty are subject.

The film is shot and told in a way that corresponds to the aesthetics of its subject, i.e. Singeli music. Fast, dynamic, direct, authentic, aiming straight at the goal, virtuoso at times. The protagonist around whom the narrative is structured is the Operator moving through the territory of the Mburahati slum, often recording the first conversations with the people he meets. His camera sometimes changes hands, gets out of control, and captures more than he could possibly imagine. However, the actual protagonist of the film is the community of Singeli music artists - singers, producers, their families and neighbors, and its action - the fate of their careers, fights for fame, travels abroad and everyday life.