BY WINSTONE ANTONIO

MBIRA Centre and Mbira Festival founder Albert Chimedza (pictured) is set to host the virtual Pan African Mbira fest from September 15 to 30 as part of the mbira month commemorations.
Mbira is a thumb piano used in many African traditional celebrations.

Chimedza said the festival was a celebration, through music, of Africa’s diverse cultural expressions.

“Our music has evolved, transformed and given birth to many new music forms, cultures and traditions across the continents. Globally, many forms of music are direct products of, or are heavily influenced by African’s musical roots,” he said.

“Our music is the umbilical cord that connects us across borders and continents. The digital age has made this possible. It is borderless, ignores geographic separation and, makes it possible for us to become significant authors of our own presence on the internet.”

Chimedza said the festival that has so far received entries from 19 countries was also a platform on which Africans can in their own voices and digital spaces showcase their work, discover each other and collaborate.

“Internationally, African musical instruments such as Balafon, Djembe, Kora, Mbira Nyatiti and Udu are making a noticeable global imprint on the music diets of many cultures. Sadly much of this growth is occurring and mostly being leveraged outside the continent,” he said.

“Pan African Mbira Festival celebrates the richness and diversity of African musical instruments, increases African-generated digital music content on the internet and provides a digital platform for intra-African music collaboration.”

Chimedza said due to the overwhelming response, they extended the submission deadline of participants who are required to send entries of projects such as music performances, dance, audio visual exhibitions, photo exhibitions and podcasts they feel deserve to be brought to the attention of people from their countries.

Other artistes expected to perform at the festival are Tunde Dawodu and Gerald Eze (Nigeria), Rapasa Nyatrapasa (Kenya), Larry Mhlanga (Swaziland), Savanna Madamombe and Jomo Faulks (United States of America), Parfait Pabapsi (Cameroon), Albert Chimedza, Tendayi Gahamadze and Tafadzwa Gwiri (Zimbabwe), Moaku Matia Maiwan and Alex Biocel (Canada).

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