MSU marimba group shines in SA
Sharon Ngomani : Arts Correspondent
Midlands State University (MSU) marimba group Rimba Resonance Vibes scooped three awards at the International Marimba and Steelpan Festival in Gauteng, South Africa, recently. The festival saw more than 80 schools from different African countries participating. Rimba Resonance Vibes competed in three categories, prestige bands, battle of the bands and in-the-mix contest.They came first in the battle of the bands and prestige bands categories and landed bronze in the last category where they blend marimba with other instruments.
Rimba Resonance Vibes president Enock Rugube was elated with the success and experience gained from participating at the festival.
“We are humbled by the unique experience we had in South Africa. We were challenged as the event was highly competitive. However, we managed to raise our stakes. We are also thankful for the exchange programme that took place because we incorporated a diverse feel into our music,” he said.
Rimba Resonance Vibes is made up of Music and Musicology students at MSU. On the keys are Enock Rugube, Mopati Molosiwa, Tafadzwa Matiure, Ricardo Charumali, Tafadzwa Gapara, Tafadzwa Chipendo, Tariro Mazarura, Memory Chitekairo and Takudzwa Matata.
The ensemble plays three sopranos, three tenors, baritone and bass and all the marimba players can play comfortably in any position, depending on the song being performed.
The vocalists include Nyasha Kakodzi, Melusi Jele, Chenesai Mutunja, Mavonei Mabika, Nyarai Gezi, Privilege Musindire, Selina Rangarirai and Tinotendaishe Mawoyo.
All the band members can perform traditional and contemporary dances, as well as play the nyunga-nyunga mbira.
Though still in its infancy, having been formed by Music and Musicology lecturer Wonder Maguraushe in 2015, the band is already raising the Zimbabwean flag outside the country.
“We have a vision as applied ethnomusicologists to ensure that the Zimbabwean marimba legacy that was started at Kwanongoma College of Music in the 1960s remains ours as Zimbabweans,” Maguraushe said.
“Rimba Resonance Vibes is a band that also aims to bridge the gap between the community and academia.
It stands as proof that university students can engage fruitfully with the community in a positive way by sensitising Zimbabweans about marimba and our culture,” he explained.
Student Representative Council (SRC) religion and cultural affairs minister at the institution Prince Von Bosha is elated with the young band’s achievements.
“Marimba is a part of our culture and our sound is richly different from other sounds in the region. This achievement markets our cultural products as a nation and the institution as well.
“This is also an opportunity for our students to be groomed to match the international scene,” he said.
Last year, the group came first in the Research and Intellectual Output Science and Technology (RIO-SET) marimba music performance competitions held at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST), beating more than 20 marimba bands which took part in the event.
The group also won the overall best prize at the Tambarimba Festival held at the Harare Gardens last year where seven open bands and over 50 school-based marimba ensembles took part.
In February this year, the group was invited to guest-perform at the Manicaland Folk Music and Dance Festival St Dominics High School in Mutare.
The band is looking to perform at the prestigious Zimbabwe Music Festival (Zimfest) in the US next year.
Rimba Resonance Vibes performs a variety of genres including sungura, marabi, rhumba, jazz, gospel and reggae.
So far the band has played in Gweru, Bulawayo, Harare, and Johannesburg where at academic conferences, road shows, graduation ceremonies, corporate functions, seminars, weddings and festivals.
Its success comes at a time when traditional music in Zimbabwe is facing many challenges due to the relative popularity of foreign genres.