Zimfest 2015 Archive

Festival Events

Zimfest is much more than workshops and concerts! There are many other festival events to partake of, and here is a partial list:


Thursday, August 13: 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Start your festival a day early and take advantage of the opportunity to schedule group or private lessons with your favorite Zimfest teacher. A number of teachers always make themselves available to teach private lessons or group workshops at Prefest on the Thursday preceding the Opening Ceremony.

The following teachers from Zimbabwe are available: “Samaita” Vitalis Wilbert Botsa, Chaka Mhembere, Kurai Mubaiwa, Patience Chaitezvi Munjeri and Patience Musandirire.

These teachers from the U.S. will also be available: Erica Azim, Chris Berry, Jaiaen Beck, Jeff Brahe, Kite Giedraitis, Jesse Larson, Patrick Latimer, Daniel Lockley, Amy Stewart McIntosh, Randy McIntosh, Eric Miller, Wanda Walker and Mandy Walker-LaFollette.

If you or your group would like to schedule a Prefest workshop, contact us at and we will put you in touch with the teacher(s) and help determine a time and location for the workshop.

Once your group has agreed on a time with the chosen teacher, please get back to us at . Zimfest will provide workshop space, including marimbas if needed. Note that unlike previous years, all Prefest workshops taking place in workshop rooms rented from the host institution must be entered as private workshops in the Zimfest registration system. Zimfest will charge each participant the workshop hourly fee ($15/hour) and will pay the teacher the hourly rate for teachers ($60 per hour). This arrangement does not preclude your group from negotiating an additional private instruction payment to the teacher, however! We strongly suggest that you schedule your Prefest workshops well in advance (six weeks recommended) to give Zimfest and the teachers enough time to plan for your personalized workshop. Also, please do not schedule any workshops before 9:00 a.m. on Prefest day; all workshops must be completed by 3:00 p.m. that day.

Opening Ceremony and Opening Night

Thursday Evening, August 13: 7:30 – 9:00 p.m., The Grove

The Thursday Evening Opening Ceremony and Concert Performance by Mbira Spirit will be starting the festival off with a resounding bang this year!

Community Time/Village Meeting

Sunday, August 16: 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. Columbia Room, WUC

Zimfest is more than a yearly event; we are a living and growing community of music-lovers from around the world!

The Zimfest Association has set aside a special time on Sunday morning, August 16 (9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.) for all of us to gather and consider together topics that are vital to our community. We refer to this time as the Zimfest Village Meeting.

The Village Meeting will include opportunities for cultural exchange, including a panel of Zimbabwean guests. This is also the time for our annual public Zimfest Association “business” meeting, which will include information and discussions about future Zimfest sites, a report on Zimfest donations to charitable organizations working in Zimbabwe and a report back about our membership organization. Each year we plan for future Zimfests, including identifying the annual organizing committees. If you are interested in even considering the possibility of joining the fun and excitement of helping organize an annual Zimfest, please don’t wait to contact the Zimfest Association board at for more information.

The Village Meeting will take place in the Columbia Room in the lower level of Werner University Center, at the end of the corridor leading away from the foyer and Zimfest Registration area. Participants can continue on to lunch right after the meeting. Our hope is that smaller group discussions during lunch will carry forward some of the topics covered during the meeting itself.

The Zimfest 2015 Organizing Committee and Zimfest Association Board of Directors cordially invite all Zimfest participants to join us for this meeting.

Mbira Gatherings

Every Night (Thursday through Sunday), Late Night, Sequoia Commons

Late Night Mbira Gatherings will start after the evening concerts and go until the wee hours of the morning. These gatherings will be held in Sequoia Commons, a free-standing structure on Stadium Drive which serves as the commons area for the Arbor Park Apartments. The late night mbira parties have taken place since the first Zimfest, and are an opportunity for Zimbabweans and other experienced musicians to share a rich tradition with the rest of us. In past years, concerns were raised about the mbira gathering as it was realized that not everyone had the same understanding and expectations. Ideas were generated about how best to both maintain the tradition and uphold the intended spirit of the event.

The mbira gathering is a time to watch, to listen, to dance, as the masters of their craft share this rich tradition with us. We ask that you not use this time for experimenting with a newly learned song or hosho patterns.

We have developed some guidelines to keep the late night parties rooted in Zimbabwean custom and make the experience enjoyable for everyone. Please be respectful of this wonderful and rich experience so we can all enjoy ourselves into the early morning hours.

As a reminder we encourage you to bring food, snacks and beverages to share but please remember: no alcoholic containers are allowed in the lounge; personal drink containers are okay.

Thank you so much for your support in making this year’s mbira gathering a rich and fulfilling experience for all!

Late Night Mbira Gathering Guidelines

  1. This is not a practice session or time for experimenting; experienced mbira players only.
  2. No more than three experienced hosho players at a time. Please be respectful and let other experienced players have a turn.
  3. No more than two drums at a time. The drums overwhelm the gentle melodies of the mbira.
  4. No electric instruments.
  5. No alcohol containers of any type are allowed in the lounge. Personal drink bottles are allowed.
  6. We encourage groups of beginners and intermediate players to gather in nearby locations.
  7. Keep conversations and partying away from the mbira playing. The singers, dancers and players appreciate this.
  8. This is a ceremonial time. Above all else, please be respectful.