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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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Applications Reminder and Call for Artwork

Greetings Zimfest community,

We have two quick messages about Zimfest applications and artwork:

  • Reminding you that online applications for performing and teaching at Zimfest 2019 have been open for almost two weeks – we’d love to hear from you! Go to the Teacher Application Info and Performer Application Info pages for links, and the Application Announcement for ideas.
  • We are working once again with the wonderful graphics artist Rachel Edson for Zimfest 2019 graphics needs, but that doesn’t mean we are not open to creative input from the rest of the community. Let us know if you have any artistic ideas appropriate for incorporation into the 2019 posters and/or the festival guide: a painting, drawing, collage or illustration of any medium will do. Send your ideas referencing the Zimfest theme of Music Dancing Across Borders to 2019[at]zimfest{dot}org.

Best of 2019 to all,

Claire on behalf of
The Zimfest 2019 Organizing Committee

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Online Applications Open January 2

Dear Zimfest Community,

Applications are now open for the 2019 Zimbabwean Music Festival. To apply to teach or perform at this year’s festival, go directly to the Teacher Application Information and/or Performer Application Information pages. Applications will remain open until February 28, 2019.

If you are applying to teach, you will be able to propose as many workshops as you wish after submitting the teacher application. Each year we seek to offer a balance of workshops, including singing, dancing, drumming, marimba, several types of mbira and a variety of cultural presentations. Based on feedback from previous Zimfest participants, we are making the following suggestions for 2019 workshop proposals:

  • Many 2018 marimba workshop participants expressed the desire for more time in upper level workshops. We can accept a limited number of 2.5 hour marimba workshops at the Intermediate and/or Advanced level.
  • Consider, however, that presentations, or workshops in dancing or hosho, might be better suited to 1 or 1.5 hours.
  • We can also schedule a small number of intermediate or advanced marimba workshops for teens. We no longer have a separate age level for teens, so please tell us in the workshop description or title if you are proposing a teen workshop.
  • We love to see workshops that educate about African music beyond just teaching songs. Sessions that integrate marimba with singing, dancing, drumming and/or hosho, bring home to American students the knowledge that these music and dance activities are rarely separate in Zimbabwe!

Send us your ideas, and we’ll see what we can schedule!

The Zimfest Association Board has chosen to carry over the 2018 theme, “Music Dancing Across Borders” for Zimfest 2019. Considering that legal circumstances for immigrants and residents both here in the United States and in Zimbabwe continue to be under threat, we remain steadfast in the belief that music and dance are unifying forces around the world. We look forward to dissolving borders and creating togetherness at Zimfest 2019, August 8-11 at Western Oregon University in Monmouth, OR.

Happy New Year from the 2019 Organizing Committee!
Best regards, Claire Jones
Zimfest Coordinator

Music Dancing Across Borders

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Announcing Zimfest 2019

Dear Zimfest community,

The Zimfest Association Board of Directors and I are pleased to announce that we will be producing a festival next year! Zimfest 2019 will take place at Western Oregon University in Monmouth, from  August 8 to 11. Mark your calendars and make your plans!

When this year’s festival ended, we were unsure whether we had enough committed volunteers to staff an organizing committee (OC) for 2019.  It has been very gratifying to see a number of new recruits raise their hands to volunteer, and I have been in touch with almost everyone who wrote to us or signed up at the festival. While we are confident we have enough people onboard for the OC, we still – always – need volunteer help leading up to and/or at the festival. You can always write to volunteers{at}zimfest{dot}org or complete the form at the bottom of the Why and How to Volunteer page.

To those of you who are unable to attend Zimfest on the dates WOU is available to us (the second weekend of August): we are sorry we have not been able to accommodate you and are continuing to seek dates earlier in the summer. We are looking ahead to Zimfest 2020 at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, where we have been promised (fingers crossed) an earlier date. We cannot confirm an exact weekend for Zimfest 2020 however.

Blessings to all, enjoy the fall colors!
Claire (Jones)
Zimfest Coordinator

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Update: Patience Musandirire Lost Luggage

Dear Zimfest participants, Zimbabwean music and cultural enthusiasts,

Those of you who were at Zimfest may recall that Patience Musandirire told us that his flights from Zimbabwe had been delayed and rerouted, and along the way his baggage went missing. His suitcase arrived one week later, after the festival. It had been ripped open and a number of items were missing.  We have filed claims with United Airlines and Ethiopian Airlines for delayed luggage and lost content. These claims have been processed and partial payments made in the form of these transferable airline vouchers that expire in one year (summer 2019).

Consider helping Patience to get reimbursement for the loss of luggage, delayed claims, and mbira instruments stolen from his bag. If you travel on United Airlines, we have $500 in travel vouchers that we can transfer to you. Contact Gretel Baumgartner (in Oregon) to coordinate details in transferring these airline vouchers, valid on United Airlines. You will pay $500 for the same travel value – all money will be delivered to Patience in Harare, Zimbabwe. Gretel will arrange safe and secure wired funds. If you have current knowledge on the best means of transferring funds to Zimbabwe, please write to Gretel or reply to this blog post.

Please contact Gretel via email gjb9876 “at” yahoo “dot” com.

Posted on behalf of Gretel Baumgartner and Patience Musandirire

 

Thank you.

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Looking to Zimfest 2019

Greetings lovers of the music and people of Zimbabwe!

Wow, what a great festival we had this year. Taking some time off really helped to accentuate all the things that make Zimfest so wonderful: great teachers from around the world, music all day and night, and connections with friends both old and new! Those of you who attended our Village Meeting this year are probably waiting with bated breath to find out whether or not a festival will take place in 2019. What we can say at this juncture is this: while we are cautiously optimistic about having the festival next year, there are still a few things that need to come together before we can confirm with absolute certainty. We have had an outpouring of support from people all over the country who are interested in helping to organize Zimfest 2019, but we still need a few more. We are specifically looking for people to populate our organizing committee, a job that requires meeting by Skype every couple of weeks starting in mid December, usually with tasks to carry out in between meetings. We also need support personnel who don’t have to meet with the Organizing Committee and whose tasks would vary in duration. In other words, there are a number of crucial jobs to fill with varying levels of commitment, so please consider helping out in whatever way you can.  In the meantime, we hope you all sit tight and stay tuned. And don’t forget, it’s not too late to get involved. If you have any interest in helping out, please contact the board by writing board{at}zimfest{dot}org!

Hope to see all of you sooner than later,

—Your Friends on the Zimfest Board

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Zimfest Lost and Found

Hello Zimfesters,

The following items were turned in as Lost and Found at the Zimfest registration desk. I am willing to mail them to the owners if you can identify them. Write to claire{at}zimfest{dot}org with descriptions.
Fleece jacket
Folding knife
Adult onesie

Enjoy the fall weather!
Claire Jones, Zimfest Coordinator

 

A message from Julia Chigamba:
Hello Zimfest family/ community
Sorry to bring you sad news. I had my mbira at my booth inside the mbira bags I was selling.
This mbira was made by my Father Baba Chigamba made it in a week as fast as he can and gave it to Kelly Takunda Orphan to bring it me. This mbira is so special to me very very special to me. I can’t stop thinking about it the story behind it and how it was made that quickly for me and was a gift to me from Jeanne Robinson Pimentel while we were in Zimbabwe in June. So please who ever has my baby you forgot to put it back on the table were the my baby was you can send it to my address.
It was truly fun and amazing to seeing everybody at zimfest. Don’t forget to message me about my mbira: nditistis55{at}gmail{dot}com.

Posted by Claire on behalf of Julia

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Zimbabwean Guests

Greetings,

Many of you have heard that we have had sad news about several Zimbabwean teachers and performers who are unable to come to this year’s festival. Polyphony Marimba had applied for visas for Tawanda Mapanda and Barnabas Ngalande. Their petitions were still not approved by the time the group was ready to leave for their tour, so they had to abandon the applications. They will try again for next Zimfest! The OC has worked hard to engage several experienced teachers to take over their workshops or offer others in their place.  Please consult the Festival Updates and Workshop Changes page for all workshop adjustments and replacement teachers.

Jacob Mafuleni and Martha Thom, both veterans of prior Zimfests, were inexplicably denied their visas at the US Embassy in Harare. This was devastating news to Dana Moffett and Matanho Project, their sponsor, who worked very hard to bring Jacob and Martha back to the US. However, their son Abel Mafuleni has been granted his visa and is coming. We look forward to Abel’s workshops and performance representing the Mafuleni Family and Tsoro Arts. Again, check the website for Workshop Changes; you may find some enticing new offerings on the workshop schedule!

Finally, we are not out of the woods yet. Marimba specialist Patience Musandirire has received his visa and was intending to purchase his own plane ticket as he has no sponsor. However, because of the drastic shortage of foreign currency in Zimbabwe, he has been unable to acquire enough US dollars for the ticket. He needs financial assistance. What would help most at this point is for someone to help him by setting up a GoFundMe campaign here in the US. If you think you can help, please write to the OC as soon as possible at 2018 {at} zimfest {dot} org.

Music Dancing Across Borders
Help these folks cross the the border!

Claire Jones, Festival Coordinator
On behalf of the 2018 Organizing Committee

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Zimfest Organizing Committee Notes

Dear Zimfest community,

Zimfest 2018 registration has been open nearly a month, and it’s time for a word from the organizing committee (OC).  After a frantic “feeding frenzy” the first few days, registrations have slowed down to a steady trickle; we are up to 259 registrations as I write this.  There have been a few bugs, but things have been proceeding smoothly the last couple of weeks. Please consult How to Register, and if you experience any problems registering, write to registration(at)zimfest(dot)org and an OC member will help you out. Workshop signups for Friday August 10 have been especially heavy, such that many workshops on the first day are already full. We have added two workshops and made some adjustments so that there are more spaces available that day. However, there are plenty of workshop spaces available on Sunday. A lot is happening on the final day of the festival, so make your plans to stick around and take advantage!

A few brief notes:

  • Check the Festival Updates and Workshop Changes page for notification of all workshop additions and adjustments.
  • The Concert Schedule has been posted on the website, and performer biographies will be available soon.
  • We are aware that the Zimfest 2018 location in Monmouth, OR can be difficult to get to on public transport. Use our Ride Board for offering or requesting rides from nearby destinations such as Portland and Salem.
  • If you have signed up for the workshops that you want, and checked the concert schedule for the bands you want to hear, now is the time to sign up for your volunteer shifts. If we have 259 registrants, we’d love to see 259 volunteers signed up – Zimfest runs on your energy!

See you in Monmouth in August,
Claire Jones and the Zimfest 2018 OC

Music Dancing Across Borders

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Zimfest 2018 Registration Is Open May 3

Dear Zimfest community,
We are pleased to announce the launch of Zimfest 2018 online registration today, May 3 at 5:00 a.m.! Go to the How to Register page on our website for links to all Festival offerings, tips on negotiating our new registration system, and the button for New Registrations (see “Register using RegFox”). More advanced topics including registering multiple people and making changes to your registration are also addressed on this page.

Further information about Zimfest 2018 programming will emerge in the weeks to come, but we’d like to point out one of the strengths of this year’s workshop schedule right now: the large number of workshops that integrate marimba with singing, dancing, drumming and/or hosho. These sessions, offered by Zimfest teachers in response to our Call for Applications, bring home to students the reality of musical practice in Zimbabwe, the fact that music and dance are rarely separate activities. Teachers, get your students dancing and singing along with marimba from middle school onward, just like Zimbabweans! To be fair to all registrants, we are asking leaders of student groups to not register members of their groups for more than half the maximum enrollment of any specific workshop. Thus, if a marimba workshop has a maximum enrollment of 8, no one group should register for more than 4 of the spots.

Heads-up: you will find the following features of the 2018 registration system different from previous years:

  • We are charging room rental by the room, not by the person, and the first person to register will be charged the entire rental amount for the number of days the room is to be occupied (the other person is “the roommate”). Please be aware that you will not be able to choose specific rooms as in past years. See On-Campus Housing for details.
  • WOU is requiring that all participants rooming in the dorms for one or more nights purchase one of three meal cards. Requirements and plans are described in detail on the On-Campus Dining.
  • Registration is to be paid with credit cards (not PayPal) this year. You will need to pay in full at the time of registration; you cannot hold rooms or places in workshops without paying for them.

See you in Monmouth, August 9-12!
Claire Jones, Zimfest Coordinator

Zimfest 2018 – Music Dancing Across Borders

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