Nambi ya Dzinambi music competition

Date:26 November 2017 - By: Tshifhiwa Mukwevho

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The Connecting Culture and Childhood Project is inviting all interested music artists to enter into a singing competition known as Nambi Ya Dzinambi/From Archive to Artist. The artists would have to use one of the old songs from the archives in any new form such as hip hop, RnB, VenRap and traditional. 

The Connecting Culture and Childhood Project is a collaborative partnership between Univen, York University, Venda communities, and the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). The research collaboration is being led by York University's associate professor Dr Andrea Emberly, Univen senior lecturer Dr Elelwani Ramaite-Mafadza, and Dr Mudzunga Davhula.

The Nambi Ya Dzinambi community initiative is being coordinated by the research team, with support from indigenous knowledge holder Vhavenda Vho Maluta Matsheka, social and digital technology entrepreneur Rovico, and community members and leaders throughout Venda.

The Nambi ya Dzinambi Competition stems from the collaborators' research that is aiming to bring heritage recordings of traditional Vhavenda music back to the original communities and owners. Another aim of the project is to engage children and young people in listening to and learning traditional Vhavenda songs that were recorded long ago. 

“We currently have a collection of archival songs from 1956-58 that were recorded in the Vhembe district by ethnomusicologist John Blacking,” Prof Emberly said. “All that music was stored at an archive in Perth, Western Australia. We now have copies of these recordings and photos and materials that we are trying to give back to the community.” 

Therefore, interested artists are welcome to access copies of the original songs or music and rework in it the style and format of their own.“In order to give the music back to communities, we have created an event where young people and community members can take the old songs from the archival collection and create new music,” said Dr. Elelwani Ramaite-Mafadza. “We are hoping that young people and community members will find value in connecting with their cultural heritage through popular music.”

Young and old are being challenged to take a copy of the recordings and create their own new music with the old songs. "This will create a mix of the old with the new, celebrating heritage and creativity," Dr Emberly said. "Artists can use the songs in any way they choose, from sampling to backtrack to using the melody or to simply performing the song in a new way. Creativity is encouraged!"

The competition is on at the University of Venda's Auditorium on 1 December. The cash prices are R5 000, R3 000 and R1 000 for positions one, two and three respectively.

Recording are available from Univen Arts Gallery, Prof Andrea Emberly (063 790 9582) or Rovico (082 227 0048) or for download on the Facebook event page Nambi Ya Dzinambi.



By: Tshifhiwa Mukwevho

Tshifhiwa Given Mukwevho was born in 1984 in Madombidzha village, not far from Louis Trichardt in the Limpopo Province. After submitting articles for roughly a year for Limpopo Mirror's youth supplement, Makoya, he started writing for the main newspaper. He is a prolific writer who published his first book, titled A Traumatic Revenge in 2011. It focusses on life on the street and how to survive amidst poverty. His second book titled The Violent Gestures of Life was published in 2014.