Local mbira sensation Rutendo Machiridza has scored big by winning a scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston Massachusetts.
Report by Silence Charumbira
The multi-talented songstress was encouraged to apply for the scholarship after meeting Ugandan artist Andrew Kugumba, who assisted her in the getting the contacts.
“I applied and was auditioned in Cape Town on April 2 and was accepted a month later,” said the ecstatic 23-year-old musician.
“Berklee is the best contemporary music college. It is like the Harvard of music and that is what I have always dreamed of.”
However, despite the milestone that the scholarship is, Machiridza said she is facing challenges raising the remaining amount that is not covered by the scholarship.
“The grant is worth US$18 000 per year, yet the full amount is around US$63 000 per annum,” she said.
“I am hoping to start this September, although I first have to make sure I secure the remaining amount that is not funded by the scholarship.
“The college has produced over 250 Grammy Award winners and they have got special programmes tutored by the who-is-who of American music.”
Born the eldest of five children, Machiridza has seized every opportunity thrown her way since she was a child.
She has competed and performed on A Academy, Starbrite, and with Music Crossroads, with whom she toured many countries. She has also performed at the Harare International Festival of the Arts’ prestigious Main Stage in 2012 and a lot of other platforms.
In the sports arena, she has represented Zimbabwe at the Zone 6 Championships in 2006 where she scooped a silver medal for karate.
“When I was at the Dominican Convent I was the karate captain, captained the mbira club, co-ordinated the Rotary Interact Service and was also the president of the SRC at the Zimbabwe College of Music in 2011, but I feel this is what I have always wanted,” she said.
“The College of Music gave me a base, but Berklee will give [me] the technical aspect and will be my launch pad. There could never have been a better opportunity for me.”
Machiridza hopes to start her fund-raising with the selling of her single Do I marry him for money? which is part of her unreleased but recorded album titled Money or Love.
“A number of local artists have also pledged to assist, so very soon we will be kicking off fundraising concerts,” said Machiridza.
“I am also hoping financiers will also come on board so that I can achieve my dream. Initially I was told by the Culture Fund of Zimbabwe that they do not fund individual projects, but I hope something positive comes through.”
Machiridza has toured extensively with Music Crossroads in countries like Sweden, Denmark, Croatia and Mozambique among others where she says her music has been overwhelmingly accepted.