Drum rhythms at Theatre in the Park

HARARE - Theatre in the Park is introducing a new programme 'The Beauty of Zimbabwean Folklore Rhythm' whose aim is to preserve and enhance the country’s melodramatic and theatrical forms.

Zimbabwe is a multi-cultural country with a rich diverse, cultural heritage with lots of different traditional music genres from one ethnic group to another, each with their own particular values and tradition.

The new programme will see different drum rhythms of Chiyambera, Dinhe Jerusalem Mbende, Majukwa, Amantshomane, Amabhiza,  Isitshikitsha, Mhande just to mention a few being performed.

These will be derived from different ethnic and tribal areas in the country such as Korekore, Zezuru, Karanga, Ndebele, Manyika, Tonga and others, including some imported such as the Nyau.

Explaining the concert behind The Beauty of Zimbabwean Folktale Rhythms, Rooftop Promotions producer Daves Guzha said while some of the traditional Zimbabwean instruments are facing the danger of extinction, drums have stood their way out for years as they have been used as a medium of communication.

He believes theatre patrons will enjoy this new concept.

“If you attend funerals, memorial and church services you will see how Zimbabweans appreciate traditional ngoma rhythms punctuated by dances.

“So why not bring it to our venue and share it with people from different backgrounds?

“We have also realised that most traditional theatrical aspects that were used long ago are fast disappearing as we adopt modern and foreign characteristics,” said Guzha.

Zimbabwean percussionist Othnell Mangoma Moyo said it is the right time to introduce the new concept as a way of preserving the country’s tradition and music instruments.

“Music from other African countries such as West, Central and North Africa is much appreciated outside the region compared to that from Zimbabwe because we tend to fuse our drums with borrowed rhythms.

“One or two musicians can be identified as Zimbabwean while the rest are copycats of various rhythms from different parts of the world.

“Look at Salif Keita and his identity; he is identified by his musical instruments. So we have a duty as the older generation to pass on the knowledge to the young ones,” he said.

Drums, according to Moyo were also used to communicate social messages such as announcing funerals, summoning people to the chief’s and announcing the first fruit among other various issues.

Moyo and Gibson Sharare in the coming days will be travelling around the country doing some research and exploring some Zimbabwean raw drum rhythms that are played by different people and their meaning so theatre patrons should expect more from the expedition.

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