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Mbira Month festivities a success

September is Mbira Month and mbira festivities to mark this year’s celebrations have been described as successful.

BY SILENCE CHARUMBIRA

Albert Chimedza of the Mbira Centre told Standardlife&style last week that Mbira Month had a presence at the Zimbabwe Film and Television School of Southern Africa, where his film Jazz Tales was screened for students.

“The National Gallery of Zimbabwe held three discussions on mbira through their discussion platform Harare Conversations,” he said.

“Some of the subjects discussed were interrogating the mbira, defining the Mbira Month concept and its importance to Zimbabwe’s local and international cultural development, and the benefits of mbira education in our school system.”

Chimedza and his mbira ensemble Gonamombe collaborated with rising group Mokoomba at Alliance Francaise on September 13, with the two bands doing a rendition of the mbira classic Nhemamusasa.

Dancer Zoey Norleen Sifelani also did a set of mbira music at the launch of the Mbira Month at Londoners’.

He said various venues besides the Book Café in Zimbabwe and others in London, Toronto and Edmonto, also participated in the commemorations.

Chimedza said he was pleased that this year’s commemorations were bigger than last year.

“At one time, we had a daily reach of more than 40 000 Facebook users worldwide and from the first of September to the end of Mbira Month, our Facebook page garnered at least 1 100 likes,” he said.

“Part of the joy of Mbira Month is that there is considerable social media interaction which allows mbira players, mbira makers and mbira enthusiasts to share and exchange the mbira experience.”

He said contrary to speculation that the popularity of the mbira instrument was dwindling, it was actually growing.

“Two years ago very few people knew of Hope Masike or Chikwata 263. Fungisai Zvakavapano Mashavave and Prudence Katomeni were not yet playing mbira publicly. A few months ago you could not have imagined Zoey dancing to mbira music but now it is happening.

“On Facebook we get many video and audio posts of performances by mbira players from most parts of the world. This gives the Zimbabwean mbira community a glimpse of other mbira activities happening elsewhere.

“The whole Mbira Month is a time of reflection and celebration.”

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