BY SHARON SIBINDI

MEDIA and Arts Zimbabwe (MAZ) in Bulawayo has embarked on a training project, Empowering the Next Generation of Female Musicians, with the support of Culture Fund Zimbabwe through their Creative Actions Project that is funded by European Union in Zimbabwe.

The project is aimed at training aspiring females in music recording and production, audio engineering, music management, deejaying skills and podcast production.

One of the project’s lead trainers, Christensen Mapuranga told NewsDay Life & Style yesterday that the goal of Media and Arts Zimbabwe was to create a supportive community for women in music, providing the tools, knowledge and support to manage their music business and
opportunities.

“The project, which will take place in Bulawayo over the next eight months as a pilot, expects to see an increase in female participation in the music industry in roles previously dominated by males,” he said.

“Our objectives include inspiring girls to enter the world of professional audio and music production and to expand opportunities for girls and women in these fields through availing and sharing resources and knowledge through co-operation, collaboration and diversity.”

Mapuranga said they were in the process of acquiring, making accessible equipment, space and knowledge through their facilitators to the first batch of trainees.

“So far, 11 are currently undertaking music recording and production training under the tutelage of Godwin Smalls Ndlovu of Elephant Herd Records who is also a two-time Bulawayo Arts Awards Producer of Year nominee,” he said.

“Several other producers will also be invited to come and share their skills and experiences during the course of the training and the ladies will tour several studios in Bulawayo. As part of their skills building and training, they will set up a small studio and are expected to produce an
album.”

He said the absence of female music producers or studio owners was worrisome.

“Music production is a very high paying and exciting profession and the dominance of this sector by men should be challenged. The high cost of studio equipment may be a factor in why there is no female participation. The talent is obviously there and untapped and the project participants will be pioneers in this industry,” he said.

“The provision of training, mentorship and provision of equipment and software for training and production will see females venturing into this sector. The second component currently underway is the music business and management training. This programme will run for five weeks and intends to train and upskill 15 females who aspire to manage musicians or bands or work on the management side of the music industry.”

Mapuranga said the training also included audience development, marketing, copyright and intellectual law and music marketing.

“The trainers for this component include myself and Kudzai Chikomo. This component of the project also aims to create platforms which will facilitate mentorship and monthly meetings for female musicians to promote their music business,” he said.

“There are two other trainings that are set to begin in January 2021 which are the DJ and podcast production training and the sound engineering training. The call for applications is set to be sent out in early December. The trainings are all free as the project is supported by Culture Fund Zimbabwe with support from the EU in Zimbabwe and a total of 63 young women are set to benefit from the training.”

He said the project was being co-ordinated by Chipo Karumazondo and Rudo Nyoni, adding that it would develop the capacity of female musicians in Bulawayo and Zimbabwe and enable them to be competitive on the market.

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