UNITED KINGDOM-BASED Zimbabwean singer and dancer, Anna Mudeka has extended an invitation to musicians of African origin to participate in the Hostry Festival in Norwich in October. This was after the organisers of the event commissioned her to lead the African Choir of Norfolk.

BY WINSTONE ANTONIO

Mudeka said she wanted to set up a choir that would showcase Africa’s rich cultural heritage through a diverse repertoire.

Music, Mudeka said, was a great way of bringing people together and by going online in light of the lockdown measures put in place by governments across the world during the COVID-19 pandemic, they were hoping to reach more people.

“We’re able to reach a larger group of people, which is essential during these uncertain and stressful times,” she said.

Mudeka said following the lockdown, Arts Council England funded Arts La’Olam to enable the group’s rehearsals to be transferred online.

”When the choir was formed before lockdown, women, both young and old, were developing a sisterhood, and being able to transfer the rehearsals online — thanks to Arts La’Olam and the Arts Council — is wonderful. These rehearsals are a lifeline to some women and the future development of the choir,” she said.

Meanwhile, the festival’s artistic director Stash Kirkbride gave the thumbs up to Mudeka’s appointment.

“I’m very pleased Anna Mudeka is heading this project – her boundless energy will certainly come across on the Zoom choir rehearsals, which is great for the choir members,” she said. 

“Being able to go online has been one of the positive aspects of lockdown, when we’ve had to think more creatively than usual. The new initiative in partnership with Hostry means we can support a worthwhile and exciting project.”

She said they were pleased with the new online African Choir and its potential to reach more people “at this challenging time” in light of COVID-19.

The choir is part of #betweenspaces, a new virtual programme of events, commissions and participatory online workshops from Arts La’Olam that addresses social isolation, brings people together in the spirit of creative celebration, and creates legacy artworks that commemorate curious and crucial times. 

The choir workshops, which started on June 6, are held every Saturday until October 17.

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