"Mashindano" - from KiSwahili, kushindana (to compete) - is a generic term for any organized competitive event. Here it relates to popular entertainment activities within which cultural groups competing for recognition by their communities, as leaders in their fields. Nineteen leading scholars contribute new studies on this little researched area, making a long overdue contribution to musical scholarship in East Africa, with a focus on Tanzania. The authors address key questions: What are the various roles played by competitive pratices in musical contexts? How do music competitions act as mechanisms of innovation? How do music competitions act as mechanisms of innovation? How do they serve their communities in identity formation? And what, specifically, do competitive music practices communicate, and to whom? Local dance contests, choir competitions, popular entertainment, song duels, and sporting events are all described. Work is drawn from ethnomusicology, history, musicology, anthropology, folklore, and literary, post-colonial, and performance studies.