Registration is now live for the 24th Annual Zimbabwean Music Festival in Monmouth, OR, August 13-16, 2015.
The festival offers three days of workshops on diverse aspects of Zimbabwean culture, free afternoon concerts, an African Marketplace and ticketed evening concerts.
Go to zimfest.org for the festival program and register for workshops, housing, meals and concert tickets. Performance schedules, still being determined, will be available soon.
Valuing education as well as performance, Zimfest attracts Zimbabwean music and culture experts from around the world to teach festival participants. Workshops are available on everything from basic Shona drumming to traditional dance to the ancient sounds of mbira and the irresistible, effervescent marimba.
Featured Zimbabweans: Master mbira players Patience Munjeri and Vitalis Botsa; marimba specialists Patience Musandirire and Paul Mataruse; multi-instrumentalist Kurai Blessings Mubaiwa; the electric duo Mbira Spirit; dancer Rujeko Dumbutshena and guitarist extraordinaire Zivanai Masango.
North American Performers: Anzanga Marimba Ensemble; Erica Azim; Chris Berry; Boka Marimba; Mahonyera Mbira Ensemble; Pachi Pamwe (mbira and guitar); Ruzivo; ZiMBira and many more.
Zimfest 2015 celebrates the theme “Enduring Rhythms ~ Gathering in Harmony.” Experience the power of African music and dance to bring people together in a full three and a half days of Zimbabwean-inflected music, dance, song, culture and fun!
We are sorry to inform you that Julia Chigamba and the Chinyakare Dance Ensemble will not be with us this year. We will miss them and hope to have them at Zimfest in the next year or so. Zimfest is very lucky, however, that some old friends are in the area and will be available to take Chinyakare’s performance spot. We are happy to announce the return of Bongo Love to the Zimfest Stage! The group has added two new performers to their lineup and have been wowing audiences up and down the West Coast, so we look forward to having them.
It is now less than two weeks before the start of Zimfest 2014, and we have had to cancel workshops with enrollments of less than two. Please check the webpage athttps://2014.zimfest.org/news/for a list of workshop changes and cancellations. Without Julia Chigamba, we have had to cancel the Mauya Mauya workshop—that will have to wait until Julia returns to Zimfest. The Dinhe Dance workshop she was going to teach is now in the capable hands (and feet) of Jimu Makurumbandi. If you were registered for a workshop that has been canceled, your account will be credited with the cost of the workshop. You may apply the credit towards another workshop. If you do not use the credit by the end of the festival, you may request a refund, or choose to donate the money to the Zimfest Association.
See you very soon, Zimfest 2014 Organizing Committee
The 2014 Zimfest Concert Schedule has been posted on the website! An innovation this year is the introduction of featured lunchtime performances Friday through Sunday from 11:45 to 12:45 AM, scheduled so that there are no conflicts with workshops. Eat your lunch outside while enjoying some of your favorite groups: Yeukai Marimba from Boulder launches on Friday, Nhapitapi Mbira rocks out on Saturday and Kurai Mubaiwa and Friends entertains on Sunday. As always, the concert schedule is subject to change, so do not be surprised to see some adjustments in the lineups.
As promised, we have some new workshop titles for you to choose from: by popular demand, Dr. Sheasby Matiure will be teaching Zimbabwean and Southern African choral and makwayera singing; new Zimfest teacher Jimu Makurumbandi offers muchongoyo dance and mbira singing techniques; and Mylinda King and Jesse Larson offer tasty new marimba tidbits! Check the News and Updates page for all workshop changes.
Don’t delay registering for Zimfest: July 9 is the last day to purchase housing and meals, and we will start to cancel workshops with low enrollment on July 11. See you at the festival! Zimfest 2014 Organizing Committee
We regretfully announce that Selmor Mtukudzi and her Trio will not be with us at Zimfest 2014. We look forward to hosting them another year. We are happy to confirm that Jimu Makurumbandi will be performing as well as teaching at the festival in their place. Jimu, a multi-talented musician and dance specialist from Mbare, is currently in Seattle on a one-year dance residency.
We will be adding new workshops taught by Jimu and others very soon – check the News and Updates section of the Zimfest website for updates.
Don’t forget that June 23 is the last day to register for guaranteed housing at Zimfest 2014!
We are pleased to report that registrations for Zimfest 2014 are steadily increasing; the excitement is building! The good news this week is that our dear friend Dr. Sheasby Matiure has arrived in the U.S. We are still waiting to hear about the visa status for Selmor Mtukudzi however.
Don’t put off too long registering for Zimfest! Here are some important dates and bits of information you should be aware of:
The last date to register for and purchase a guaranteed room at the University of Puget Sound during Zimfest is June 23. Housing registration will remain open, and UPS will work with us to provide rooms registered for after this date, but cannot guarantee their availability.
The last date to purchase UPS meals and rooms is July 9. You may be able to purchase meals at onsite registration, but UPS cannot guarantee their availability.
We are sad to hear that Erica Azim will not be coming to Zimfest 2014. Fortunately we have many excellent mbira instructors lined up for this year’s festival, and there are still plenty of interesting and fun workshops to choose from. Stay tuned for additions to the workshop schedule, as several marimba classes have already filled up.
Pambile nga Masiko! Forward with the Past! Pamberi neChinyakare!
We have had a tremendous response since Zimfest registration went live May 17! Some of our workshops are already filling up, and we are pleased to announce that Patience Musandirire has agreed to teach a second session of one of his marimba workshops; see announcements of this and all future changes at https://2014.zimfest.org/news/. The good news from Zimbabwe is that Patience has been granted his US visa, as has Sheasby Matiure.
Unfortunately, Bulawayo dancer Caroline Mangwiro will not be joining us for Zimfest 2014 as her visa application has been denied. We have cancelled Caroline’s dance workshops, and will let you know in the coming weeks if we add any additional dance classes.
Our new Zimfest PASS is proving to be popular. We apologize for any registration quirks regarding the PASS – thanks for your patience! If you would like to purchase the all-inclusive Zimfest PASS, our advice is to register for it first, as soon as you add yourself as a participant. You do not need to sign up for concert tickets as they are included, but you do need to sign up for your chosen workshops.
Pamberi neChinyakare! Forward with the Past!
Zimfest 2014 Organizing Committee
Opening Night JULY 24 with MOKOOMBA
Zimfest 2014 breaks new ground with an opening night concert featuring Zimbabwe’s hottest band on the international “world music” circuit, Mokoomba! The Zimfest Organizing Committee is proud to present this terrific new Afro-fusion group who have been making a name for themselves worldwide. The band of six young men hails from Victoria Falls, home to the Tonga people, and combines traditional and modern instruments with a rich blend of rhythms. Their vibrant sound, largely originating from spectacular lead vocalist Mathias Muzaza, draws on traditional Tonga music, while also embracing the diverse music cultures of southern Africa.
Mokoomba will perform at 9 PM on Thursday night, July 24th, following the free Zimfest Opening Ceremony in Schneebeck Hall in the University of Puget Sound Music Building. Unlike the Thursday evening outdoor concerts of previous years, Opening Night with Mokoomba will be a ticketed indoor concert, with an advance purchase price of $20 for adults. Tickets will go on sale on the 2014 Zimfest website (2014.zimfest.org) when online registration opens on May 1. Mark your calendars now – we think you will find the $20 ticket a bargain price to pay for one of the premier African dance bands on the global stage!
Reviews of MOKOOMBA’S latest CD, Rising Tide:
“Mokoomba is quite simply the most impressive band Zimbabwe has produced in recent memory. The sheer density of ideas in this session is impressive, but it never feels like the musicians are merely checking off stylistic boxes. This is an A+ international debut… In all, Mokoomba, riding their own rising tide, are the best news we have heard out of Zimbabwe in years.” (Banning Eyre, Afropop Worldwide, USA, August 2012)
“I’ve seen the future of Afrosound and it is called Mokoomba.” (Thorsten Bednarz, Deutschlandradio Kultur, Germany, October 2012)
The performer and teacher application deadline was February 28, and this year we received a record number of applications from Zimbabweans. With the help of donations pledged by many of you in the Zimfest community, we will be able to host most, but regretfully not all, of the applicants at Zimfest 2014. You should know that the time period following the application deadline is an extremely busy one for the Organizing Committee, and we are hard at work finalizing invitations and acceptances and working out schedules.
We are thrilled to welcome to Zimfest for the first time (pending visa approvals): dancer Caroline Mangwiro from Bulawayo and marimba specialist Patience Musandirire, who is currently teaching in Botswana. Some of our returning Zimbabwean friends who will be attending this year (also pending visa approvals) are: Cosmas Magaya, Musekiwa Chingodza and Sheasby Matiure, all coming from Zimbabwe; Lucky Moyo, England; Nhapitapi Mbira, Toronto; Julia Chigamba and Chinyakare, Oakland; and Loveness Wesa from Portland. We hope to be able to announce more exciting news about this year’s lineup in the very near future. For further details, see the Zimfest 2014 web site.
Also, Zimfest 2014 marketplace vendor information and applications are now available. We anticipate a variety of vendors selling marimbas, mbiras, hosho, CDs, clothing, accessories and art. Crafts sold at the Marketplace should be of Zimbabwean or related African origin, and in keeping with the spirit and intent of Zimfest.
We have received great news from the 2014 Zimbabwean Music Festival organizing committee! The festival has received applications to teach and perform from 26 Zimbabweans based in the US, Canada, United Kingdom, and Zimbabwe. Some of these visiting artists are first time participants at the festival, but have dozens of years of experience in Zimbabwean music and dance, both internationally and in Zimbabwe. This increased number of Zimbabwean guests presents significant cost challenges to the festival itself. We would like to host as many of these talented individuals at the festival as possible. Unfortunately, without additional assistance it is impossible for us to host all 26 applicants and have a balanced budget. Therefore, we are asking for your help in offsetting the cost of their attendance at Zimfest 2014.
Between now and March 21st, we will be accepting pledges to help support Zimbabwean teachers and performers at this year’s festival. Based on the pledge amounts that we receive between now and then, we will determine how many Zimbabweans that we can invite to the festival. If you’d like to help, please send an email to with the amount of your pledge. There will be an online mechanism for you to donate for this purpose shortly. If you’d like to donate immediately, you can do so at http://www.zimfest.org/membership/. However, please also send an email with your pledge amount so that we can ensure that the funds go to the right place.
This year’s festival will be July 24-27 at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. Below are the costs associated with Zimbabwean teacher / performer attendance at the festival:
Full festival room and board – $300
Full festival room and board + travel – $575
We are hoping to raise enough funds to cover all expenses for as many of the Zimbabweans as possible. Please kindly donate at whatever level you feel comfortable, and feel free to pass this letter to your friends, colleagues, and other community members. All donations to Zimfest Association are tax-deductible.
We look forward to seeing you, and all the Zimbabwean guests who have applied to come to the festival, at Zimfest in July.
This blog is the main news channel for the Zimbabwean Music Festival (aka Zimfest). The Zimfest organizing committee posts updates on the annual festival, and the Zimfest Association board provides meeting minutes and other info. We hope this blog becomes a mechanism for a rich dialog with Zimfest participants. Subscribe to receive blog posts via email.