Tribal Music in Tanzania

by James Stone

In November of 2010, my father and I traveled into the bush of Tanzania to live with three remote tribes: the Maasai, the Barbaig and the Iraq. This was a journey of not only self discovery, but one of education and learning, as we went to locate the roots of tribal music in ancient cultures. The aim was to travel to cultures largely untouched by western civilization and communicate with them primarily through song, not words. This has never been done before and hopefully will lead on to more of these studies in the future

The African people have always been in my mind as a proud and beautiful race that have endured not only the harsh conditions of their surroundings, but the ever changing influence of the world around them. I wanted to document the journey to show the indigenous tribal people as I saw them: a wonderfully rich and wise people, full of pride and determination to preserve their way of life.

They truly are a most beautiful people, who welcomed us with open arms into their society and allowed us to be part of their day to day lives.

These images show a small selection of the amazing people I met in my journey and are part of a large collection of images that show the tribes of Tanzania as I saw them.

Tanzania is undergoing big shifts in their political, education and social infrastructure and these changes are affecting the remaining indigenous tribes of the country.

Before the traditional ways of these tribes are lost, we wanted to visit them to learn from their traditions and how they live their lives. One of the goals of the project was to create a set of photographs that could be used to show how these remote tribes live, and to raise awareness of the work that the Livingstone Tanzania Trust does to help these people adapt to the new world.

More details of this and other projects by James Stone can be found at

James Stone

I am a freelance photographer who specializes in documentary, creative portraiture and fine art photography. I am a qualified member of both the Royal Photographic Society and the British Institute of Professional Photography, holding both the ABIPP and ARPS title.

I have been practicing photography for around 18 years now and started with my first film camera all those years ago. I was shooting film for years before I got into digital photography when it first started to become popular. I cannot remember what the first digital camera was that I bought, but I know the quality was terrible!

Digital photography has improved significantly since then and about 6 years ago I bought my first real DSLR. It was a fantastic camera and I spent many days wandering around with that and a cheap Sigma lens attached. This really was the start of me taking photography seriously and thinking about making the leap from amateur to pro.

In early 2009 I left my full time job to pursue my career as a photographer and set upon the path to becoming a qualified professional. In 2010 I was awarded my Associates qualification in the BIPP and the RPS for my documentary photography and since then I have started my journey into documenting traditional tribal cultures in Africa. This body of personal work is supported by my commercial work, where I provide portrait, commercial and fine art services to a range of clients from local small to medium size businesses up to media giants such as Red Bee Media and Channel 4.

I am available for a wide variety of freelance photography and if you wish to book me for a shoot, please get in touch via the contact page.

As a side note, you can also refer to me by my Maasai name “Lomayani” which translated means “the one who gives” . This name was given to me by the Maasai village elders after living with them in the African bush, and also donating money for resources to help them build their local school.

James Stone ABIPP ARPS
Award Winning Documentary & Fine Art Photographer

All images copyright © James Stone