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Boot camp for first-ever Mbira ensemble on the cards

Mbiri orchestra gala on the cards

By Chimeno Azriel

As time draws nearby for the historic first-ever Mbira Orchestra ensemble, all is going well according to the plan for the mbira instrumentalists and drums (ngoma) players to be in the boot camp this summer.

According to the Project Manager Mr Valiant Kandororo, the orchestra project has been boosted by the availability of around 300 kgs of maize meal from Mr T.P Marowa who values Zimbabwean traditional music and a fattened bull from Norton Member of Parliament Hon Temba Mliswa. They have also received ZW$20 000 from Wilson Furnitures represented by its Manager Mr R. Bannister.

Speaking during an interview with this publication, Kandororo said the project has engaged the traditional Chiefs from the office of the Chiefs’ President Hon. Charumbira to the Provincial Senator Chief for Mash West Chief Ngezi.

They got help from the Executive Chairman of Munhumutapa Ideological Cultural Resource Centre and Chigara Estate, Chivhu Senator Mambo Musarurwa.

“We would like to thank those who have helped us so far and it seems all is set,” said Kandororo. ” We are also expecting assistance from other chiefs since they are the custodians of our culture and also the ministry of youth sports arts and recreation.”

” I would like to thank our partners for everything as we have received 300 kgs of maize meal, zwl$20,000 and a beast ( mombe) from Hon Temba Mliswa for the use by our mbira players who will be in camp come mid-October,” said Kandororo.

The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation television crew is said to be ready for the shooting during the camp where it shall be broadcasted live on the television. The mbira team is also expected to record songs and release some videos as an orchestra.

“The ZBC TV team is ready to do the shootings and recordings are to take place for screening on the national television and the recording in the studio,” said Kandororo.

According to Kandororo, they have so far received the first batch of mbira players who were auditioned and they were looking for the next batch.

“We are receiving mbira players in batches because of lockdown restrictions and we have received the first batch and we are looking for the second batch for the auditions,” said Kandororo. ” We have been receiving a positive response from all over the country and we have received instrumentalists from as far as Gokwe.,” continued Kandororo.

All the mbira instruments were manufactured at Dzepamvura Mbira Art Centre and are almost ready for the mbira players to use. About 30 mbira instrumentalists and ngoma players are expected to team up to play the instruments at the same time as an orchestra in what will be the first of its kind not in Zimbabwe alone but in the world.

Renowned mbira group, Mbira DzeNharira led by Tendai Gahamadze are the leading group in the mobilisation and selection of the mbira players and are working day and day out in order to see that they have the best mbira players.

“Mbira DzeNharira led by Tendai Gahamadze are working tirelessly in order to see that we get quality mbira players and we would like to thank them,” said Kandororo.

The core objective of the Mbira Orchestra project is the revival of Zimbabwean cultural norms and values as well as the explicit, qualitative and significance of the mbira. During the interview, Kandororo said the musical project would be psychological in the sense that it will have fluid percussive sounds that are mystic, tranquil and enchanting.

The Mbira Orchestra is expected to provide healing sentiments through music and to promote the transmission of Zimbabwean cultural ideological, meanings and values around the world in order to extend and intensify social relations.

Dzepamvura Mbira Art Centre in conjunction with its partners have been doing a great job to make sure that the project is a success.

“Mbira DzeNharira, Imvuu Media Production, Norton MP Temba Mliswa, Ministry of Youth Sports Arts and Recreation, National Arts Council of Zimbabwe, chiefs, Clone Media, Wilson Furnitures, and journalists are working flat out to see the project is a success,” said Kandororo.

The Manager also appealed to all those who want to partner with them to come forward as they want to make sure that Zimbabwe is put on the map through traditional music.

The coming up of the Orchestra project comes at the same time when Zimbabwe is celebrating the mbira month. This will lead to a greater margin of cultural appreciation hence the generation of cultural revenue which is integral to the community and the nation.

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende