Zimfest News Blog

Posts by Claire Jones

Zimfest Board and Committee Updates

Howdy Zimfest Community,

The 2019 Organizing Committee would like you to know:

  • We are actively working on this year’s Festival Guide. If you or your organization would like ad space in the printed guide (discounts for non-profits!), please contact chatbetty{at}gmail{dot}com. You may also contact Betty if you or your community has lost a loved one who you would like mentioned in the In Memoriam page.
  • We are seeking Vendor Applications for the Marketplace—a fun place to hang out during the festival! Be sure to get your applications in by July 20 to avoid being charged a late fee. 

From the ZA Tech Committee:

  • You can now look up current workshop enrollments on both the Workshop List and Workshop Table pages on the website, where “Remaining” indicates the number of spots open in each workshop. Both displays also feature an additional filter called “Open/Full” with which you can view either Full or Open classes (those with slots remaining).
  • Make your Zimfest travel plans now! The Getting to Zimfest page has been updated and the Ride Board is ready for posts from those seeking and those offering rides.

And at long last, an announcement from the Zimfest Association Board:

  • The ZA Board has tentatively reserved the dates of July 30 to August 2, 2020 for Zimfest at The Evergreen State College in Olympia WA. We will make an official decision on whether to hold a 2020 festival after this year’s festival, based on commitment from the community and the success of Zimfest 2019.

Posted by Claire with help from many hard working volunteers!
Claire Jones, Festival Coordinator

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Zimfest News

Greetings all,

The Zimfest 2019 Organizing and Tech committees have some festival updates for you:

  • The Festival Concert Schedule has been posted online. See biographies and photographs of performers here (check back later for information not yet available on a couple of groups).
  • Our host Western Oregon University has informed us that there will be mini-fridges and microwave ovens in all Ackerman dorm rooms! To ensure that this privilege is extended beyond 2019, be sure to dispose of all food and other waste properly, and please clean out fridges when you leave. 
  • There are a number of fascinating and informative cultural presentations on offer this year, and our webmaster Larry has created this Presentations page with all the relevant information.  The cultural presentations cost only $10 per hour – a great deal!
  • Don’t forget to sign up for volunteer shifts to help the festival run smoothly. Write to our volunteer coordinators at volunteers{at}zimfest{dot}org if you can take on any special assignments (e.g. host the Green Room on Sunday, or help wrangle marimbas on Thursday).

Your Zimfest Organizers

Music Dancing Across Borders

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What’s New at Zimfest 2019

Zimfest organizers and participants have been quiet since registration went live on May 1. Take a look at What’s New this year and kick up the interest level! Make your plans and register now for some of the new offerings for Zimfest 2019:

  • Come learn about a different type of Zimbabwean culture: Alternative Agri-cultures in Zimbabwe. This special workshop presentation/exhibit/discussion led by musician and scholar Pamela Ngwenya is produced by Zimfest 2019 as a multi-session workshop on Saturday afternoon August 10 at discounted presentation costs (by donation); we need your registrations for either or both sessions to make it happen! Those who are motivated to give back to Zimbabwe will want to attend to learn about projects being carried out in areas impacted by Cyclone Idai and how to support them.
  • Gumboot Flash Mob – Festival Highlights Finale on Sunday, Aug 11, 4:40 – 5:00 p.m. at The Grove. Student groups from two gumboot workshops will show off what they have learned, and Lucky Moyo and Sinini Ngwenya will invite everyone at the Grove to join in with some awesome body percussion! Let’s get everyone dancing – gum boots not required! For more information, see Festival Events.
  • Some people have been confused between the skill level terms “beginner” and “novice” (introduced last year). We encourage you to look at it this way: Beginners are still the lowest skill level, ranging from those just starting out to one year of experience. We promise we’ll never change that! Novice, the next skill level beyond beginning, is the new term that replaced the old “advanced-beginner” level (which was confusing to people new to this community).

Enjoy the long weekend and remember our veterans!
Claire and the 2019 Organizing Committee

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Zimfest Registration is Open

Dear Zimfest community,

Online registration for Zimfest 2019 is now open! Visit the How to Register ‎page on the website for instructions (please read!) and the direct link to our online system RegFox. A few new tips and reminders:

  • Marketplace booth applications are also open for all new and returning vendors. Please go to the Vendor Information page for guidelines and a link to the Vendor applications. This application is not connected to the online registration form, and vendor applicants will have to make a separate payment for booths using PayPal (sorry!).
  • An eleventh-hour development strengthens our efforts to make Zimfest more affordable for families – meals are now discounted for children 11 and under! See Festival Costs for prices. When you enter the age range of the person for whom you are registering in RegFox, the correct meal prices will be displayed and computed for you.
  • All Zimfest registrants must confirm that they have read and agree to the Zimfest Code of Conduct.  If you are not aware of this initiative by the ZA Board to ensure that the festival remains a safe and non-threatening environment for all, please read about it here.
  • Zimfest Association members are exempt from the $15 Registration fee. Become a member and support Zimfest before you register.
  • Those purchasing concert tickets only are also exempt from the registration fee, and can skip down to the concert ticket section in RegFox.

Enjoy the spring weather!
Claire and the OC

Music Dancing Across Borders

 

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Zimfest Workshop Schedule is Online

Dear Zimfesters,

As promised, the Zimfest 2019 Organizing and Tech Committees have published the workshop list, grid and teachers information in advance of the registration opening date so that registrants will have plenty of time to peruse the selections. We hope this will decrease the errors made by people rushing to complete their registrations on the first day! We would rather you take your time to explore the website and all this year’s offerings before you set out to register. A few other pointers at this time:

  • We have taken some steps to make Zimfest more family-friendly. If you are a parent accompanying a child aged 7 or under in a children’s workshop, your workshop fee is waived. See details under Children’s Workshops on the About Workshops page.
  • Also, it is now easier to qualify for a family discount on housing at the festival; you need only have one child below the age of 12 to qualify. See On-Campus Housing.
  • We request that no group (youth or adults!) sign up for more than half the slots in any one workshop – this is one of the few ways we have of trying to make workshops equally accessible to all Zimfest participants. If you are a group leader and want your entire group to work with a particular teacher, or learn a particular song or dance, please consider arranging a private or pre-fest workshop. See details here.

Have fun exploring the website and all that Zimfest 2019 has to offer! Look for online registration to open on May 1 or shortly thereafter.

Claire and the Organizing Committee

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Zimfest 2019 Housing and Dining

Greetings Zimfest community,
In an ongoing effort to respond to festival feedback and survey comments, the Zimfest Organizing Committee wishes to share with you some of the arrangements with our 2019 host institution, Western Oregon University. Our contract with WOU Conference Services includes housing in their dorm rooms (Ackerman and Butler Halls this year), dining in Valsetz Hall, the services of maintenance and groundspeople, and the use of various facilities and classrooms across campus. As with many universities, hosting conferences during the summer months allows WOU to retain their employees on the payroll rear-round. In order to keep the cafeteria open and food service workers employed during the summer, WOU Dining requires conference groups to purchase meals from them. This is the reason why Zimfest and WOU require festival attendees staying on campus to purchase WOU meals. Our relationship with WOU is a mutual one: they support Zimfest (and they have been very supportive of us as a non-profit!) and we,  in turn, support WOU Housing and Dining Services.

  • A number of people complained in 2018 about the lack of flexibility in meal purchasing, so we have negotiated a new set of meal plans. WOU requests that each participant staying in the dorms pre-purchase at least two meals for each night. Those who do not wish to purchase the All-Meal plan (Thursday dinner through Monday breakfast) may select any combination of two meals for each night signed up for in our registration system. For more details, see On-Campus Dining on the website.
  • Another of the problems encountered in 2018 was that tent campers in the football practice field were subjected to flying footballs at 7 a.m.! WOU people have responded with a new location for tent campers: the Hammer Throw area, a shady square next to the football stadium. They promise there will be no hammer-throwers during Zimfest! For details, check On-Campus Housing (scroll down to the middle of the page).
  • By popular request, we will be publishing the workshop schedule before registration opens, so that people registering large groups will be able to plan ahead. Look for that publication within the next 10 days!
  • The OC and Tech committees are still  targeting early May as the opening date for Zimfest 2019 registration.  Woo hoo!

Thanks for reading,
Zimfest 2019 OC

 

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Marimba Concert Fund-Raiser in Portland April 6

Hello Portland-area marimba lovers,
Put on your dancing shoes and help MyLinda King and her marimba students raise money for Zimfest and four different charities working in Zimbabwe!

When: Saturday April 6, 2019
12:00 PM – 3:30 PM
Where: Alongsiders Church
2830 NE Flanders St.
Portland, Oregon 97232
Why
An amazing raffle and silent auction will benefit Zimfest 2019, offsetting travel costs for Zimbabwean musicians coming to the festival. This year’s Africa-inspired quilt (quilt4africa.com) will benefit Tariro, Ancient Ways, Portland-Mutare Sister City and Unicef, all charities working in and for Zimbabwe.


FIVE marimba bands playing music from Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa.
FIVE non-profits working on behalf of Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans.

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Announcement of Zimbabwean Guests for Zimfest 2019

Greetings, Kwaziwai, Salibonane!
Just a short message to let you know that we have announced this year’s Zimbabwean guest teachers on the 2019 Overview page on the website. Performers are not yet finalized, and as always at this time of the year, visas are pending for Zimbabweans traveling from abroad.

Happy spring!
Claire Jones, Festival Coordinator
On behalf of the 2019 Zimfest Organizing Committee

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Zimfest Teachers Needed! Applications Close Feb 28

Hello Zimfest Community,
The end is near! No more procrastination, Zimfest applications for teachers and performers close February 28. That is only five days away!

Our most desperate need is for teachers of marimba at all levels except advanced. If you have patience and a flair for working with Beginners, or can help build foundations and repertoire for Novice and Intermediate players, we want you!

Please go to Teacher Application Information and/or Performer Application Information.

Claire Jones
for the Zimfest 2019 Organizing Committee

Music Dancing Across Borders

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Zimfest Applications Closing February 28

A brief reminder to the Zimfest Community

We are halfway through the application period for Zimfest 2019 but do not have half of the teacher or performer applications we usually have. We have heard from very few North American teachers and bands and wonder where you are. If you are hoping to teach, or your band is hoping to perform, get your applications in ASAP!

Go here for Performance applications
Go here for Teacher applications
and check Applications announcement for suggestions on workshops for this year

Zimfest 2019 Organizing Committee

Music Dancing Across Borders

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Tribute to Oliver Mtukudzi

The Zimfest Association joins Zimbabweans everywhere in mourning the passing last week of musical and humanitarian giant Oliver Mtukudzi. The tribute below is published with the permission of author Jennifer Kyker, a former Zimfest Association board member. Nematambudziko.

Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi

Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi was singular in innumerable ways, from the resonant sound of his husky voice to his playful dance moves, with names like “donkey jump” and “railway line.” From his trademark cough inspired by Mpharanyana to his tall, lanky frame, his complexion dark like the rich soils of Dande, there was no one remotely like him, this towering figure known by his clan praise name of Nzou Samanyanga, the Elephant, Bearer of Tusks.

Mtukudzi’s songs were by turns mournful, funny, nostalgic, witty, heart-rending, energizing, and even sometimes mystifying. Almost unfailingly, they demonstrated his exceptional mastery of the Shona language, his tight-knit style of musical arrangement, and his fundamental belief that song is primarily intended to convey a message. As he saw it, music was simply the attraction, or hwezvo, drawing people to listen to the message of a song. “Kuridza kurunga,” he told me, “You’re just flavoring the song.”

Hundreds of well-flavored songs consistently served Mtukudzi’s purpose, delivering message after message to several generations of listeners. In them, Mtukudzi counseled us to respect our parents, to remain humble before our elders, and to acknowledge our limitations once we ourselves are elderly. He cautioned us against abusing alcohol, against mistreating our children and wives, and against stigmatizing people living with HIV/AIDS. He encouraged family planning and women’s rights. He asserted the value of kinship obligations, indigenous musical styles, traditional foods, and customary practices often targeted as obsolete.

At the same time, Mtukudzi saw one message as particularly central, a single umbrella covering all of his songs. He described it in many ways – as hunhu, as self-discipline, as respect, as moral personhood. Ultimately, Mtukudzi’s message was simply this – that our humanity is an expression of love shared with others. In his own words:
“…that is what is called a human being. That is the soul of a person. We don’t need qualifications to attain self-discipline. And self-discipline simply translates to respecting the next person. To love the next person. It all comes from self-discipline. It’s not something that we acquire academically; you are born with it. You know what’s good and what’s bad. And, the more you talk about that, the more you remind people how we should live. So it’s way above what we think. It’s what we’re supposed to be.”

Mtukudzi’s musical genius emerged in the way he brought this consistent emphasis on moral personhood together with infectious dance rhythms, irresistible guitar work, unforgettable lyrics, and perfectly crafted song forms. In the process, he touched countless numbers of listeners.
Preceded in death by his beloved son Sam, Tuku’s passing will be felt most keenly by his family, including his wife Daisy, and his daughters Sandra, Selmor, and Samantha. Outside the durawall of Mtukudzi’s home in Norton, an entire nation mourns with them, and beyond the nation’s borders, millions more.

Introducing himself during one performance, Mtukudzi told his audience, “When you say Mtukudzi, you mean ‘One who makes one rich.’ And I’m not on my own, I do have the Black Spirits with me. And we are here to make you rich.”

Truly, Samanyanga, you have made us rich. You have enriched us as individuals, as families, as communities, and as a nation. Thank you. You have shown us the gold of humanity in all the shades of black, in all the rich soils of Dande, and in all the strings of your Godin guitar. Tinotenda. You have shared with us a wealth that goes beyond bank accounts and bond notes, a wealth that does not wear out with age, that cannot be seized, that does not go up in flames, and that cannot be tracked or devoured by predatory animals. Mazvita enyu Samanyanga. You have reminded us of the soul of the Zimbabwean people. Ndima mapedza Nzou, masakura nekuzunza zvese. Zororai murugare Samanyanga, gamba renyika.

 

Jennifer W. Kyker, PhD
Author, Oliver Mtukudzi: Living Tuku Music in Zimbabwe (2016)

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Zimfest Sunday Concert Special

Dear Zimfest community,

This message addresses a shared complaint and request from the Zimfest 2018 survey, and our response to it. Be sure to read through to the end!

Several people have expressed the desire to see more Zimbabweans performing on the evening stage at Zimfest. We want you to be aware that there is a legal reason that not all the visiting Zimbabweans can perform at our ticketed concerts. The type of US visa (B-1 business/pleasure) granted to many of the Zimbabweans (and Canadians!) traveling to Zimfest does not allow the visa holder to perform in a concert for which admission is charged. Zimfest cannot include B-1 visa holders on the ticketed evening stage lineups; it would risk the visa status of these visitors, as well as the co-sponsoring status of the Zimfest Association and our host institution (WOU).

Our plan for Zimfest 2019 is to make the Sunday evening concert on August 11, 2019 free admission, by donation only. Like the afternoon concerts at the festival, there will be no restrictions as to who may perform, so we hope to include some of Zimbabweans you’ve been missing (take note, Zimbabwean applicants!). In order to make this work, we need your help as audience members. We cannot afford to lose money on Sunday evening, so we ask that you donate the same amount that tickets cost for the Friday and Saturday ticketed concerts: currently $18 in advance, $20 onsite for adults.

If having a concert “by donation” sounds like the Zimfest workshops that are “by donation,” it is because it is motivated by the same money-earning restrictions on B-1 visa holders. Any instruction or musical demonstration offered by these individuals must be free and open to the public. This is explained in more detail on the website here (see Workshops by Donation). As with the “by donation” workshops, it is our hope that you understand that donating the full amount supports Zimfest’s ability to bring these musicians to the festival. It is disappointing for us to see people donating relatively small amounts for children taking workshops, or American teachers signing up for workshops from Zimbabweans. We appeal to you as a community to help us out on this with your generous donations.

It will be many weeks before we know who will be coming to Zimfest this year, but we wanted to let you know of these plans in advance so that you can make your own plans accordingly. We promise the Sunday evening concert at Zimfest 2019 will be very special – you won’t want to miss out!

Until next time,
Claire Jones
On behalf of the Zimfest 2019 OC and ZA Board of Directors

Zimfest 2019 – Music Dancing Across Borders

 

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