MC Zimbabwe in 2012 - a year empowering young musicians, in retrospect
As we get in the year 2013, Music Crossroads Zimbabwe reflects on the effort undertaken throughout 2012 - headlined by the preparations for the opening of the awaited Music Academy scheduled for March this year.
2012 kick-started with the Music Crossroads National Finals that were held in January at the First street Mall Harare, in the capital of Zimbabwe. Here, local based Afro-fusion outfit Savannah Afros emerged victorious in a tightly contested competition. Savannah afros were awarded a ticket to represent Zimbabwe in February at the Inter-Regional Final (IRF) in Maputo Mozambique.
Although the Zimbabwean representatives lost the festival first prize to Konkalazi - from Malawi, who won the competition and got the sole ticket to tour Europe - Savannah Afros' effort didn't go at all unnoticed as their vocalist and versatile mbira player, Rutendo Machiridza, was given the opportunity to travel and play at the Ethno Festival camps in Sweden, Denmark and Croatia.
Also, it became an amazing year for 2008 Music Crossroads IRF winners, Mokoomba, that launched their second 8-track album, Rising Tide, in April at Alliance Francaise. The album has so far received many accolades the world over - it was voted among the top ten albums for 2012 in Songlines Magazines and the 27th annual fRoots Critics for albums. The Guardian newspaper in the United Kingdom also named "Rising Tide" as the third best world and folk album of 2012.
The Harare International Festival of Arts (HIFA) took place in April, with Mokoomba and Savannah Afros showcasing. Mokoomba teamed up with Dutch Dj Grego Salto at Telecel main stage for a show that left fans yearning for more. Savannah Afros had a great show at the Coca Cola Green stage.
Bongo Love, Music Crossroads IRF winners (2006), embarked on a six month tour of USA and Canada in May. The four-piece band has so far travelled extensively in the USA as well as several African countries playing on various stages including festivals, camps and clubs.
In August, Mokoomba toured and wowed audiences in Austria, Russia, Belgium, Finland, Macedonia, Serbia, Germany, Netherlands and Hungary. The band also embarked on another one-month tour, showcasing at WOMEX in Thessaloniki, Greece. On 16th October the band performed before a studio audience on a BBC programme, Later with Jools Holland. This programme propelled "Rising Tide" to the number one spot in the iTunes UK Music Charts. Locally, the band was awarded as the best band of 2012 by the Daily News.
In addition, MC Zim Music Academy project teacher training took centre stage between August and September. Spanish volunteer Dee Jay Foster and Canaan Kamoyo (MCZim) auditioned twenty-five teacher trainees for the academy and twelve were successful. Workshops in various aspects of music education were conducted.
Further training for the academy teachers continued in South Africa in November and December, for a period of three weeks and was facilitated by Global Music Academy. With much of the preparations almost through, the academy is due to start classes in March with an intake of thirty students, and registration is currently in progress.
Later in the year, on 17th November, MC Zim launched the Showcase Mission, a project that is meant to promote bands that have graduated from the MC talent search program. The launch attracted a cosmopolitan crowd which was entertained by groups which have been successfully involved in the Music Crossroads program over the last years - Mokoomba, Gwarimba, Club Shanga and Savannah Afros. Other Showcase Mission events took place in December at the Book Cafe, while 2013 will see the project being conducted all over the country.
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