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Music and computer workshop sets landmark
Kunzwana Trust
October 17, 2003

The workshop "Music + computer for future cultural heritage" at Binga ITC was held by two composers, Klaus Hollinetz from Linz / Austria and Keith Goddard from Harare. It started on Wednesday 17th September and was ending with a short presentation of the outcome for the 3rd Binga ITC stakeholders seminar on Saturday 20th September. Participants were music teachers and artists from all over Binga area and from as far as Bulawayo, Victoria Falls and Choma / Zambia.

The workshop was organised by Austria Zimbabwe Friendship Association in collaboration with Kunzwana Trust, World Links and Horizon 3000 and was funded by the Austrian Embassy in Harare.

The focus of the workshop was on Ngoma Buntibe music with field recordings made of a performance of the group Simonga at Siachilaba on the first day. On the second day the recording of Simonga was then used to go through the various steps of editing, which covered the analysing, filtering and converting of the audio file to mp3 for uploading onto the Internet. On the third day the audio material from the field recordings in Siachilaba and from around the Binga ITC was then used together to come up with a composition, which the participants entitled "Konjila", which is Tonga for "come in".

A challenge that came up as a result of the workshop was that of notating the Ngoma Buntibe Music as well as researching further on it. The workshop and its results were regarded as highly relevant not only for networking of artists and music teachers but also to provide them with the most advanced tools to preserve and develop their music skills and cultural heritage. As Keith Goddard has pointed it out in his report:

"For music and computers go to Binga ! Binga is also providing an important lead for the use of computers as a compositional tool. The training provided in the use of the new computer music workstation (brought in by Austria Zimbabwe Friendship Association) was a first in Zimbabwe and was offered to music teachers from four centres in the South of Zimbabwe. The fact that this training could take place in Binga is highly significant.

Those attending the course had some idea about what they wanted from the workshop but their expectations were not only met but transcended. The production of a small soundscape by the participants in under 3 days demonstrated that concepts of electro-acoustic music production are not foreign or bizarre to people outside contemporary music circles. Participants expressed an interest in exploring matters relating to computers and notation and a follow-up workshop is planned for next year which will tackle matters relating to the representation of sound especially in connection to the analysis and understanding of Tonga Ngoma Buntibe music which, until now, using traditional techniques, has defied accurate transcription. That the tools for this analysis are in the hands of those who produce this music is highly significant.

The archiving of living culture was of particular interest to those working in museums. The production of sound installations by music students to accompany Binga museum exhibitions will soon become a reality. No other museum in Zimbabwe has been offered this potential. I
t is my belief that, in five years time, when people think about training in matters relating to information technology and music, the first thought that will come to mind will be "Let's Go to Binga".

Thanks/Twalumba to all participants and facilitators!

The purpose of the 3rd Binga ITC stakeholders seminar was to review the progress of the Tonga.Online project so far, particularly its outreach and extension. The advent of computers in Binga has not only contributed to uplifting education but also provided better access to information and communication for the community at large. Two more Telecenters are in the project pipeline for Sianzyundu Secondary and Siachilaba Primary School, where electrification is around the corner.

A music workshop participant from Choma / Zambia, Patrick Mweemba, staged an exhibition of some of his work at the Binga BaTonga museum.

A Design competition was held at Binga ITC from April to June 2003, with a number of objectives in mind:

  • to promote creativity and identify artists within the community and introduce them to graphic design by computer
  • to provoke thought and ideas relating to the concept of mulonga and Tonga culture
  • to offer talented pupils and local artists the chance to show their work on the website
  • to improve the general image of the centre by attractive wall paintings;

Kunzwana Trust
Tonga Online Project -
c/o Binga High School, P Bag 5722, Binga
Tel 015-573,

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