The Music In Africa Foundation (MIAF) will livestream the Vibrations concert featuring Pops Mohamed, Morena Leraba, Sibusile Xaba, and Buhlebendalo from Johannesburg on 24 September at 6pm CAT (4pm GMT).
The concert, held as part of Heritage Day celebrations in South Africa, will be the conclusion of the MIAF’s 2020 Instrument Building and Repair (IBR) project, which will train 20 young participants to make traditional instruments during an intensive workshop programme from 19 to 24 September. The aim of the IBR project is to encourage the use of traditional instruments in Africa and emphasise their value, especially for the younger generation. This year’s focus instruments are the mbira and kamale ngoni.
Aptly titled Vibrations – A Celebration of African Instruments, the two-hour showcase will also feature contributions and ideas from accomplished traditional instrumentalists from across Africa. The performers will also employ some of the instruments created during the workshops in their performances.
The free-to-view concert will be streamed on Music In Africa’s Facebook page(link is external) at 6pm CAT (4pm GMT).
“Traditional or indigenous musical elements do matter – we cannot be divorced from that sound,” the Lesotho-born Morena Leraba said ahead of his performance. “More significantly, in Africa a song is a spiritual connection between us and the world around us, a form of communication that connects us with the other world. We live in a world driven by technology, and when it comes to music and sound, it’s a privilege to borrow from these old sonic elements and combine them with new ways. We are also preserving and reinventing our earlier stories and way of life.”
The first edition of the IBR project was held in South Africa in 2016 when participants from across the continent took part in a series of training sessions, where they were equipped with the skills to build their own instruments – namely the marimba, dulcimer guitar and umakhweyana. Since then, many of the participants have gone on to make and sell their own instruments, or train others in an artisanal practice that is being lost to modernisation and mechanisation.
The 2020 IBR workshops will be facilitated by experienced instrument makers Farai Machingambi and Joe Ntsako Makhanza, while the participants include instrument makers, music teachers as well as traditional and contemporary musicians who have a keen interest in learning how to create authentic African instruments. The participants were selected after the MIAF made an open call for applications in South Africa in March.
Watch the Vibrations concert here(link is external).
The Music In Africa Instrument Building and Repair project is funded by the National Lotteries Commission (NLC). It is implemented in partnership with Siemens Stiftung, Goethe-Institut and Kaya 959.