The Tanzania State National Ensemble, also known as the Bagamoyo Players, was founded in the 1980s and until 2009 was an association of musicians and dancers from the Bagamoyo College of Arts (TASUBA).
All members of the ensemble served as students or faculty at the college.
The Tanzania National Ensemble has performed in the USA, Canada, Japan, China, New Zealand, Australia, Korea, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, France, England, Italy, Germany, Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Jordan, etc., among others.
The ensemble’s program used to include only traditional dances and musical pieces, as well as plays and musicals. The traditional Tanzanian dance, often initiation, hunting, or harvest dances, impresses especially by its use of movement, which contains many acrobatic elements. The new ensemble (since 2019) also strives for more modern choreography and compositions.
Contributions to the development of the country
In keeping with their mission not only to research, develop, teach and perform art but also to contribute to the development of Tanzania (one of the poorest countries in the world), the ensemble occasionally produces a musical or play significant to the development of their country.
Themes of such performances were and are, for example, HIV/Aids, malaria, corruption, albino murders, or the role of women. These plays are then performed in the rural regions of the country. This work has been called an “African artistic mindset” by the former director of the Bagamoyo College of Arts, Rashid Masimbi.