Posts Tagged ‘indigenous culture’

Chiefteness Mwenda – as women in Africa we carry a huge responsibility

2019/03/31

IMG-20181229-WA0030

.

Normally in Tonga culture, they don’t give the position to women…

Trained as a nurse, and a leprosy controller in her district, Mrs Kalichi didn’t have plans leaving her job and ordinary family life. The male folk among the royal family refused to take up the vacant position of the chief – why should they leave their job in town for some “backward stuff” in the remote rural areas of Chikankata Zambia…?!

It’s not interesting, my sister…

Eli Mwiinga Namazuminana Kalichi became Chiefteness Mwenda of Chikankata in 2006. In this interview, she unravels for us why she took the step that her brothers refused, and what it meant for her life to take up the traditional leadership position as a woman, and become the first ever Chiefteness in Southern Province… Today, Chiefteness Mwenda is Deputy Chair of the house of Chiefs; and with my questions, I encouraged her to tell us a little more about the House and its 10% female members.

 

20180905_065653

 

As women, we have huge responsibility towards all community…

Chiefteness Mwenda feels deep empathy for the women and girls in her district and sees her responsibility as a female leader in taking steps to change the plight of women’s lives for the better.

 

Belonging comes natural with the sound of the drums from the Valley…

Chiefteness Mwenda was a baby girl of three at the time of the forced removal; but her father came from the valley, and the memory of the forced removal and resettlement of the Tonga people and, of the Tonga culture and tradition was very much present in the family when Eli Mwiinga was growing up.

 

20180904_164358

 

Twalumba loko; special thanks to Sharon Monga for brokering the opportunity to record this interview with Chiefteness Mwenda and for accompanying me on the journey to her native Chikankata.

 

20180905_070555

20180905_072754

Advertisements

Gogo – an ancient voice of the future

2019/03/28

 

20181013_170752

.

Thembi Ngwabi prefers to be called Gogo; ugogo meaning “granny, grandmother” in Ndebele. Even in 2012, when we recorded our first interview at Amakhosi Cultural Centre, the title of the elder and, an ancestral calling was already with Thembi. In 2013, I found her just relocated to the Lupane bush, in search of a realisation for her calling, and with a programme of cultural dance for local women and children at hand. We documented also this encounter with recordings.

The rain rituals have taken over my life…

In the present recording from October 2018 made at CoCont (Cont’s place) in Lupane, you may listen to the story of a demanding calling in Ugogo’s own words and voice. She describes her transformation from a young creative woman grown up in town (Bulawayo), a dancer, bass-guitarist, director of plays and films and of the Amakhosi Performing Arts Academy to a rapidly-aged, traditional rain-dancer in the Lupane bushland who follows spiritual instructions to build a new rain-making shrine which, as she has is linked straight to the Njelele shrine…

Almost everyone in Binga knows Maalila…

I ask Gogo in particular to tell us about her recent research in Binga. She had discovered that the geographically and historically closest rain-maker to her area in Lupane had lived in Binga. They went for a two-weeks research to Binga, and got to know the story of Maalila. He used to perform rain-making rituals at Binga’s hot springs until the Zimbabwe government and National Parks claimed the land as private property. Based on Gogo’s research, a thirteen-episode TV series about Maalila was developed and produced in Binga.

We need to go back to where we lost ourselves…

I also encourage Gogo to talk about her role as a woman in local culture and a woman leader of a new spiritual centre. I’m interested in Gogo’s contemporary open-mind now joint by an ancient voice; and curious about what I hear as a balance between a revival of culture and a celebration of diversity. Gogo ends the interview on a strong call and vision for her people… “we are fake… we don’t know what we are doing… we need to go back to where we lost ourselves…then, we can move on…”

Ugogo and her girl apprentice perform a traditional rain-making song.

.

20181013_171856

I felt shy photographing Ugogo… thus the pictures show mainly the dry Lupane bushland… and the trail of what was Cecil Rhodes’ dead-straight road through the bush….

Samba Yonga – the journey of an influential woman

2019/03/14

Samba Yonga is a Zambian journalist and media consultant. She has worked a long time as editor for Big Issue Zambia and has written for several other publications. Yonga is the founder of Ku-Atenga Media, a media consultancy firm and was named one of Destiny’s “Power of 40” most influential women in Africa 2017.”

Thus begins a Wikipedia article for Samba Yonga archived i.a. under the category “women in Zambia”. If you’d follow the link of that category, you’ll now find a sizeable number of articles, recently published about notable women in Zambia. This in itself is part and parcel of Samba Yonga’s work, part of a long journey and research…

Samba Yonga International Women's Day 2019

.

Samba Yonga shares with us her journey of a woman in the media in Zambia, becoming an influential player in the emerging industry of digital representation, and a keen researcher throughout.

Samba’s storytelling is a fascinating genre of, i’d call it practical roll-modelling. She takes the listeners with her in her thought processes and inquiring and thus allows us to share in to her discoveries, questions and decisions on her journey.

Didn’t the women really do anything..? Where is our history…?

Samba Yonga co-founded the Museum of Women’s History in Zambia together with Mulenga Kapwepwe. The aim of the initiative is to insert the missing half of the country’s history into the mainstream and to do so in creative ways and with the means of contemporary digital media. This amazing initiative of rewriting a country’s history is the main focus of this interview, and with my questions I encouraged Samba to tell her story with this particular perspective in mind and to reveal to us how it ultimately came to founding the Women’s Museum.

In track 6 of the interview, you’ll hear about the most recent developments and activities of the Women’s Museum, the WikiWomen project #HerZambianHistory in early 2018 and the series of audio-visual podcast #LeadingLadiesZM about to be launched just now, in March, Women’s History Month 2019. Listen here for a short introduction

20180619_154509

 

We recorded the interview in the National Museum in Lusaka (occasionally you’ll hear some disturbances in the background); the Museum actually already granted exhibition space for the Women’s History Museum’s future displays.

Find the Museum of Women’s History online at:   https://www.whmzambia.org/ (currently under construction)

.

Listen to Samba on: The Leading Ladies Zambia project

53761853_2280432242232250_4092382703784034304_o

Mulenga Kapwepwe and Samba Yonga introduce us to the Museum of Women’s History Zambia

2019/03/01

20180619_154707

.

Coming back to Lusaka in June 2018, after five years, I was excited that the first person I was able to connect with was Mulenga Kapwepwe. In 2012, we had recorded an interview with this super-productive and resourceful lady; in the interview, BaMulenga beautifully documents herself as an artist, describes her work as a writer, cultural historian and playwright.

Mulenga invited me to join a meeting of a group of women at Zambia National Museum. It was delightful to join the discussion of such a resourceful group of women, among them artists, bloggers, writers, an architect, a lawyer…; they belong to a Cooperative of ten women who are the makers and movers of what is, and will be the Museum of Women’s History in Zambia.

.

20180612_145139

.

After the meeting, I managed to keep Mulenga and Samba Yonga, the co-founders of the Women’s History Museum for just about long enough to tell us how this idea and organisation was born, whats’s their mission and plans and how will they go about realising their ambitious plans of inserting women’s achievements into to the gapping mainstream of history…

20180619_154509

Note: the recording is from June 2018. You can listen to a live update on matters Women’s History Museum Zambia on International Women’s Day 8 March 1:30 pm GMT; Samba Tonga talks with N.N.D. presenter of “The workplace” on Resonance fm 

.

20180619_142444

further links :

https://www.instagram.com/womensmuseumzed/

https://www.whmzambia.org/ (under construction)

https://www.lusakatimes.com/2016/11/23/museum-womens-living-history-launched/

“Stories of Gardens…” on Datscha Radio

2017/09/13

dance_of_baobab_n_carrots3_2017rcd

Stories of gardens are better than none at all…”

first broadcast on Datscha Radio Berlin, a 5-days radio-festival from a Berlin allotment garden, August 2017; produced in response to Datscha radio’s open call by radio continental drift

radio continental drift is proud and happy contributing to Datscha Radio in Berlin together with women audio/ radio producers from both sides of the Zambezi and beyond, namely Zubo Trust in Binga, Zimbabwe and Zongwe FM in Sinazongwe, Zambia; DJ Kwe joins the all-female radio-gardeners team from Canada with her music, excerpts from the inspiring Album “Radio Remixes Voices of Binga”.

Margaret Munkuli and Lucia Munenge recorded songs and stories of elders in their communities about their life at the Zambezi before the forced resettlement displacing the Tonga people for the construction of Kariba Lake. The old ladies still danced and played Chilimba at the Zambezi, as they themselves tell, and they could shout across the river to their relatives on the other side; water for gardening was no problem…

DJ Mo and DJ Petty Young took many of these recordings on-air at Zongwe FM relating voices and stories from the Binga community to the Tonga community on the Northern shore of Kariba Lake thus, joining the now divided people in radio community. Radio continental drift joins the dots in the radio piece with bits of narration in English and German to invite further listening communities along on the journey. DJ Kwe’s beats lifts our voices to danceable teachings.

You can even follow our journey to Tonga gardens on the sound maps of aporee radio where you’ll find all the original recordings. 

Enjoy the listening. And have a nice day in the garden!

Sikalenge 2017-03-07 at 23.30.33

Buy the Album “Radio Remixes Voices of Binga”

In purchasing the Album “Radio Remixes Voices of Binga”, you’ll support the healing arts of DJ Kwe and the work of women for women across the globe. From the online sales, 50% of proceed go to project work with women in Binga via Zubo Trust and Basilwizi Trust. Twalumba look! Thank you for your support!

21248383_10214874590884715_7288993613107686360_o

Dance of carrots and baobab with stories of gardens and Tonga-song-remix by DJ Kwe performed to link and honour the women of Zubo Trust in Binga, Datscha Radio in Berlin, “Radio Remixes Voices of Binga” by DJ Kwe in Canada and Apocalypso Now, a performance party hosted by Alma Tischler Wood and John Wood at Lewisham Art House in London on 25 August 2017.”

All Female Production Team Shines on International Women’s Day

2016/03/08

 

 

In Celebration of Women and their Creative Contribution to Society! 

the forthcoming Album is staring young BaTonga Women in the Vocals. 

Lets dance together, join hands across the globe and share in to the wisdom of indigenous knowledge!

 

Crystal DJ Kwe Favel

Crystal DJ Kwe Favel of Wax Warriors Record Label has partnered up with Claudia Wegener of Radio Continental Drift to release “Radio Remixes Voices of Binga” Electronic Drum Music Album this March 31, 2016.

Can you name an album completely produced from start to finish by women? In most cases, “no!” Not only have the radio samples have been recorded, collected and produced by Claudia, but DJ Kwe has also recorded, produced, engineered and mastered the entire album.

These female electronica artists even tear down international barriers as Ms. Favel is located in Canada and Claudia currently resides in Germany. When you combine both their portfolios, they have over 30 years of experience combined overachieving in a male-dominated technology industry. Their album promises to introduce another method to “preserve Oral Traditions, Ancient Languages and Indigenous Teachings through Aboriginal Electronica On The Rise.

Stay tunes as you watch history in the making, or…

View original post 15 more words

CIRCE’s feast for ears and eyes

2016/01/07

 

Anna Stereopoulou, Athens’ composer and founder of CIRCE the Black Cut project has published a richly beautiful AV report of CIRCE’s events in Athens, 19 – 22 December 2015.  

The exhibitions, concerts, listening events and broadcasts were the celebratory Finale of an exciting joint journey which began in August 2015 with CIRCE’s call for remixes on the subject of “Bees” and radio continental drift’s call-out “The Women of the Great River”.

 

 

Here I just pull together a few AV quotes from Anna’s report for you as a teaser to go on your own stroll across the resources of Anna’s pages. The two images include visual remixes to “The Women of the Great River” by Alma Tischler Wood and Agness Buya Yombwe.

The opening event on 19 December saw the release of the “CIRCE Family” Album 2015, called VOX [voice; out/ cry]. The Album gathers all remix-responses to the two sister-call-outs by 46 international artists of 15 countries in 28 tracks to One Voice “VOX” (as Anna’s subtitle poignantly suggests).

 

 

VOX invites us on an adventurous journey of listening in which Bees and BaTonga Women will be our guides. As they sing of the micro-cosmos, which is home to them, they allow us unknown glimpses of Cosmos at large and surprising, sometimes painfully familiar perspectives on our-selves and, “our” “World”.

 

 

Remixes are natural; will say, our audio remixes only echo the movements of Nature as it lives, breathes, survives, acts and communicates in ever new remixes of it’s resources – given “We”/ “Man”/ “the human animal” doesn’t grossly interfere in the Cosmos (=order)…

Lisa Greenaway’s remix of the “CIRCE Family” Album VOX gives another beautiful resonance space to the breath of “natural remix”…

 

 

Listening recommended !

Remixes to “The Women of the Great River”

2015/12/31

 

As remix artists and storytellers, we join hands with our sista artists and storytellers elsewhere, in dedication to the art of listening and, to a shared vision of opening new resonance-space for yet unheard voices and communities in the so called “global information age”.  

Below on this blog, you’ll find eight chapters of thematic introductions to all the 18 remix contribution the “the Women of the Great River”: from “Tonga Anthem in Remix” to “Audio Journey through Binga”. Alternatively, you can brows for names of artists and related footage recordings here.

 

Tonga Anthem in remix

 

The playlist of all audio remixes to “The Women of the Great River” can be downloaded here [16 mp3 files, 108MB]

Women Empowerment

 

Audio/ Radio/ Arts

for consciousness building among global listeners.

 

Album 5

 

We received 18 contributions by 16 artists of 11 countries; 15 sonic remixes by 14 contributors; two further contributors responded in a visual remix. A warm thank-you to all the contributing artists.

 

Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 00.04.21

Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 00.04.28

 

On invitation of Athens composer, Anna Stereopoulou, we were partnering on this journey with CIRCE The Black Cut project. The resulting CIRCE Family Album VOX can be found now, for free download, HERE.

 

Colonial divide-and-rule stories in remix

 

Remix to VOX by LAPKAT aka DJ and Radio Maker Lisa Greenaway

 

Album 3

 

 

The fire of listening unites!

 

 

Passing on stories in remix

0 album 2

Tonga Anthem… in remix

2015/12/18

.

“…The River is for the Tonga people.

The river has fish and crocodiles…  

Our ancestors are ‘crying’…”

 

The above lines came via a quick text message from Michito Veronika, Zubo Trust’s communications officer, currently in the Netherlands, completing her MA dissertation. I had sent her the link to a recording asking whether the song following the Zimbabwe National Anthem was perhaps a kind of Tonga Anthem. “…oooh very nice. you have just made me miss home…,” Michito wrote and added the lines above in translation.

Listen to the recording here:

 

Award ceremony at Damba Primary School 2012

 

“The Tonga lost their land with the coming of Kariba but they have managed to retain much of their rich cultural heritage…”

Keith Goddard writes in his article “one man one note” (2005)

 

The recording of the Tonga Anthem was made in 2012, when I accompanied members of Basilwizi Trust  to an award ceremony at Damba Primary School. Damba is a tiny village, off the main road, in the bush-land near Manjolo.

 

All Africa Sound Map - Damba Primary

 

Together with Sihle Ndlovu, we recorded a number of interviews with women, in English and in ChiTonga and documented almost the entire award ceremony in Damba with recordings. Some clips from that day’s interviews are included in the call-out playlist such as by the young reserve teacher Florence Munsaka, and a Tonga song by Mary Munsaka, mother of one of the pupils.

Some soundscape recordings from the award ceremony are connected to the All Africa Sound Map like this Welcome Song by the Pupils of Damba to the arriving guests

 

Anthem - Damba ceremony

 

One of our contributors, the DJ Audio Storyteller, Crystal DJ Kwe Favel deeply identified with the stories, songs, sounds and voices she heard from the “The Women of the Great River”. Starting with the call-out playlist, DJ Kwe got on a journey of listening across many of the footage recordings from radio continental drift’s 2012 visit to Binga… a journey of listening which is still continuing as we speak and, will lead, so DJ Kwe, to an entire Album of her music dedicated to the Voices of Binga she heard…

The first track of her forthcoming Album however, Crystal DJ Kwe Favel is releasing already, here and now, contributing it as free-for download to “The Women of the Great River” call-out and CIRCE The Black Cut project/ Family Album. In her remix-contribution, DJ Kwe included two of the soundscape recordings of the Damba Award Ceremony, the Welcome Song of the Damba Pupils to arriving guests and, the BaTonga Anthem.

DJ Kwe (pronounced DJ Kway – means DJ Woman) is an Aboriginal Woman from the Cree & Metis Nation of Squamish, British Columbia, Canada.

 

 

Describing the samples used in the track, DJ Kwe writes:

  • Flutes – Indigenous to Native Canada/Turtle Island – Voices of our People – Sharing the Love
  • Frogs – symbol of transformation – recorded here on Native land. Frogs are Elders. Frogs live the balance between two worlds that often collide.
  • Damba Primary School Students – Welcome/Greeting Song – Special Tonga Anthem
  • Indigenous Girl Trill – Call for audio warriors to unite.
  • Tribal Drums – A common journey we share beyond the physical land.
  • House Beats – Electronica – a connection, a platform, a foundation to greet the world.
  • Synths – Inspire the world, together! Represents strength and power of positivity through nations across Mother Earth.

 

Damba ceremony gathering2

 

DJ Kwe writes about her contribution and motivation of her music:

“Our Native community is resilient; we have overcome slavery, displacement and documented genocide. It is in our blood to share our stories and oral tradition through audio. That is why it’s very important to introduce digital audio storytelling as another method to preserve our traditional stories and oral traditions. As we rebuild our family structures and heal from the generations of abuse, we are reconnecting through the use of modern tools. It is my goal to repair the hearts of my community through my music and writing. This is a motivational movement through electronica to reach for the stars, regardless of race.”

 

Announcement of DJ Kwe's forthcoming Album dedicated to Voices of Binga

 

The Album will be released on DJ Kwe’s own record label, Wax-Warriors-Records, in March 2016.

 

Siachilaba Baobab

 

“The People of the Great River”: The BaTonga are descendants of those who were forcefully removed from their fertile land at the Zambezi by the British Colonial Government in the 1950s. They had to escape into the arid, higher regions both sides of the Zambezi valley where agriculture is almost impossible. The land of their ancestors is now at the bottom of the Kariba Lake. Even after independence, water and electricity from the dam bypasse them serving others in the country. “Having lost everything, their culture survives strongly as a driving force of self-assertion, resilience and development.”

For information please also see some of the related websites:

Zubo TrustBasilwizi TrustMulongaKunzwana TrustTonga OnAirAustrian Zimbabwe Friendship Association

Passing on stories… in remix

2015/12/16

“It’s not just as if everyone is blowing their horns at any time; there’s a pattern and you can hear the pattern going and coming…

…one song for example is about a blind man, who went to Hwange in the year of hunger; he worked very hard and did very well and people got jealous of him, put poison in his beer and he died… – that’s the background story – even the small kids know the story…; but the lyrics are, ‘he drank the beer and he died’…

How’s this for passing on stories…?!

Penny Yon

 

 

Fascinated by the ways of passing on stories in lyrics, music and festivals in the BaTonga culture, three of the contributors to “The Women of the Great River” home in on Penny Yon’s and Esnart Mweemba’s descriptions of Tonga Music in clips 39 – 43 of the call-out playlist: The London-based painter, Alma Tischler Wood; the radio DJ and graphic artist, Terry Humphrey aka Trunkstore Arts, also from London; and the Austrian sound- and radio engineer and stage manager, Marcus C. Diess aka “Macussi” (his Tonga name).

 

'he drank the beer and he died" , painting/ digital print by Alma Tischler Wood

 

“he drank the beer and he died” – title of Alma Tischler Wood’s visual remix and, the lyrics of a Tonga song which Penny Yon introduces to us in clip 43 of the call-out playlist.

Alma Tischler Wood writes about her contribution:

‘I created digitally a pattern on the computer whilst listening to THE WOMEN OF THE GREAT RIVER (2) by radio continental drift. I was particularly impressed and amused by the subtle layers and rhythms of No. 43, Penny Yon’s Passing on Stories (…) I will create a painting (perhaps a series of paintings) of the pattern you can see on screen.’

A lyrics like “he drank the beer and he died” would be accompanied by a serial type of music, audio patterns as Penny Yon describes it, whereby drums beat the rhythm and the horns are each playing one note only and yet joining together in a musical pattern and composition – while the players would be at once dancing, sometimes running around, and the whole community being in motion…

A sample of BaTonga “Ngoma bontibe” music can be found on the Mulonga webpage (a composition by Siankwede Bokotela Mudenda; lyrics in ChiTonga/ English on the page, recorded in Siachilaba 1997, performed by the Simonga group); listen here

 

Lwiindi - photo M.C.Diess 2013

 

 

"BASKET" painting by Alma Tischler Wood

 

“…there’s a pattern and you can hear the pattern going and coming…”

Alma’s abstract composition seems to me working in a very similar way and manner. A pattern of same-size triangles in shades of grey tones (let’s say, the drums, “bontibe”) and primary colours (say, the horns, “nyele”) create music in motion before the eye. The triangle, by the way, is a sign and symbol common to many cultures on the continent and often used in decorative patterns such as on drums or on fabrics. The triangle stands for stability and balance.

 

Lwiindi_Speakers_cut - photo Marcus C Diess

 

 

The radio DJ and graphic artist, Terry Humphrey aka Trunkstore Arts in London created “Storyboard” (0:36) in contribution to “The Women of the Great River”. “Rapid listening and editing response,” Terry writes about his remix. The all-vocal piece could well function as a pattern, or a loop for a music, and dance – as it mainly draws on Esnarth’s chant from the Budima Ceremony which she sing as an example while telling about Budima. The piece also includes vocals from Penny Yon, Linda Mudimba, and Janet Mwiinde.

 

Budima - photo Basilwizi Bamulonga

 

Austrian sound- and radio engineer Marcus C. Diess created an intriguing musical encounter of women’s vocals from the call-out playlist and ambient recordings from the Lwiindi Festival, which “Macussi” (his Tonga name!) recorded on his visits to the Tonga community of Sinazongwe, Zambia in 2007 and 2013. In fact, Macussi’s skills were crucial in the establishment (2007) and technical updating (2013) of Zongwe Community Radio, as he was part of a team of community-radio-activists from Austria assisting Zongwe community in these tasks. Hear a broadcast by the station from 2007 about Lwiindi Ceremony.

 

 

Macussi aka Marcus C. Diess writes about his contribution:

“Recordings from my visits in Sinazongwe 2007 and 2013 (the Lwiindi Festival), Downloads from Continental drift . Hope Masike plays the Mbira Loops, the violine is played by Tony Stricker. Both live recorded in Bad Ischl 2014 by myself. Samples of a Kalimba played by me.”   Vocals from the call-out playlist include Penny Yon, Linda Mudimba, Janet Mwiinde, Agness Buya Yombwe, Esnart Mweemba, Barbara Mudimba and Viola Mwembe.

Do watch Macussi’s documentary to learn more about Zongwe Community Radio and the Lwiindi Festival of the Zambian Tonga in Sinasongwe. The first half of the film tells the story of Zongwe Community Radio; the second half, about the Lwiindi festival:

 

 

The film beautifully relates the BaTonga ritual during Lwiindi to go out on a boat on Lake Kariba and fetch water above the ancient Shines of the ancestors – now at the bottom of the lake. The women then carry the water in procession, accompanied by all the musicians with their drums, rattles and horns to the current Shines of the Chiefs male and female ancestors and share the water – together with locally brewed beer over the sacred burial grounds.

“The Tonga lost their land with the coming of Kariba but they have managed to retain much of their rich cultural heritage. The major threat has been the coming of some missions which preach that ngoma bontibe is of the devil. If these missionaries are to get their way and the Valley tonga are to stop performing their music, the Valley Tonga will finally have had everything stripped from them – even their unique cultural identity.”

For more about Tonga music, you may read the articles on the website of “Kunzwana”. I highly recommend the article by Keith Goddard “One man one note” from which the above quote is taken.


%d bloggers like this: