Zimbabwe Mbira Festival: Encouraging Originality and Innovation

The annual Zimbabwe Mbira Festival which will be run under the theme, ‘Mbira and Education’ in celebration of the national mbira month is set to be held on September 23 and 24 at Prince Edward School, Harare.

Speaking to Celebrity Check, the Director of the festival, Albert Chimedza said this year’s theme is inspired by schools, colleges and universities to whom they are dedicating the event.

“This year we are putting all our resources into activities that enable students to learn and enjoy themselves, diversifying their educational facilities from books to  musical instruments. Hence we have given educators the opportunity to directly run the Festival,” said Albert Chimedza.

He said they strongly believe that the future of mbira is in the hearts of the young ones and they have to be groomed earlier such that they could be familiar with the instrument, citing that it is the teachers, parents and the community who will have to support and offer encouragement to them.

He also said the festival will hold activities for educators where they will motivate each other in open discussions, centered around film screenings and seminar presentations on education and mbira in the education system.

“I think the festival will be a fresh look at other possibilities for presenting mbira music, originality and innovation will be a big thing. If we can motivate these young ones they would make great music out of the traditional mbira instrument,” he said.

Performances will be ranked in different categories with the original mbira composition and acapella rendition of the mbira songs being some of them.

“We are also challenging participants to perform renditions of gospel and popular pieces, that way children will be able to see the musical possibilities of the mbira outside the traditional context,” said Chimedza.

The festival will also feature the most exciting moments where everyone in attendants will have to take part in the traditional games to include tsoro, nhodo and pada as part of the festival activities.

“This is a good way to popularize our traditional games and for parents to interact with their children in a playful environment,” added Chimedza.


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