'African artistes lagging behind theoretically'

HARARE - Over the years Zimbabwe has produced fine artistes such as Safirio Madzikatire aka Mukadota, Leonard Dembo, System Tazvida, Biggie Tembo, John Chibadura and Simon Chimbetu among others who had made an impact not only on the local showbiz scene but regionally.

These legends managed to make it big in the music industry despite the fact that they never went to the music college to spruce up their artistic skills like what the emerging artistes are doing.

One can be forgiven for questioning the relevance of education or training in art.

Simply put, art is creativity, but the question has always been how much education can enhance one’s imagination.

Marabi musician Kireni Zulu told the Daily News on Sunday that music is all about talent not education or training.

“Our industry needs only talent not training to be honest. Music is about composing and expressing what you think as an individual and I do not think this requires training,” said Zulu.

He went on to say acquiring skills from music colleges without talent is futile.

“Going to college of music without talent does not work at all, without talent one can release more than 50 albums but to no avail,” said Zulu.

Most of the aforementioned legends die of paupers as they lacked marketing skills.

Most of these legends have a record of releasing more than two albums in a short period like a year — they were not good in marketing their music to their advantage.

Aggrippa Sora the director of Zimbabwe College of Music said arts lessons are not confined to spruce up talent but it extends to how one can run the band professionally.

“Most musicians who rely on talent end up hitting a brick wall in their careers as they do lack professionalism. A professional musician is able to hire professional people such as band managers, sound engineers and accountants among other professionals who can take the band to another level unlike unprofessional artistes who hire close relatives who at times are incompetent,” said Sora.

Sora said artistes definitely require education as music is about sharing.

“We are living in a global village so our music should not confine to our country but should be marketed across the globe. An artiste who came from the arts colleges is able to share his or her music worldwide and to appreciate other genres of music unlike an artiste who plays music by ear. So musicians should be able to read the music language, to be musically literate,” he said.

Elvas Mari, the director of National Arts Council of Zimbabwe urged artistes to seek training to enhance their talent and for them to understand their rights.

“For our industry to go forward, it needs educated or well-trained artistes.

“Training will enhance artistes’ talent as well as changing the way the artiste perceives the world,” said Mari.

A renowned gospel artiste Charles Charamba who is currently the student at the Zimbabwe College of Music said he has decided to enrol at the college in order to fit well in the global village.

“I am naturally gifted but because we are living in global village where people around the globe share everything. I wanted people from different places and of different cultures to read my music and appreciate it despite differences in culture,” said Charamba.

Training helps Charamba to present his music in the entire world not only in Zimbabwe.

“African artistes we are good practically but we are still lagging behind in theoretical side of music,” said Charamba.

Charlie Kambudzi, a gospel artiste who is a product of the Zimbabwe College of Music and also a human resource manager of a horticulture company in Harare said the major difference between “educated” artiste and “unprofessional” artiste is the personal conduct and public relations skills shown by the artiste.

“Music is just like business, it involves a lot of work (inputs, capital and production period).

“One has to understand contracts signed between his or her band and other publics or companies such as recording companies and different music promoters,” said Kambudzi.

“Education or training helps musician to interact with different musicians from different countries without facing the language barrier since music language is the same across the world,” he said.

The gospel artiste said musicians need education as it unlocks brains, as artistes will understand cords to come up with depth messages.

“Music has side effects to health; it is advisable to sing from the stomach and to those who do not know it will cause illnesses in the future,” he said.

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