UKZN to host 1st International Bow Music Conference
Convened by a team led by UKZN Lecturer and well-known township jazz exponent, Dr Sazi Dlamini, the event has sparked a wave of passionate interest from local and international bow music practitioners, ethnomusicologists, and music researchers from as far afield as the United States, Brazil, Europe, and neighbouring SADC countries Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
Dlamini said: ‘The Bow Music Conference is an academic gathering that will be open to the public and will feature at paper presentations, workshops and discussions focusing on diverse topics on global bow musical practices.
The Conference acknowledges the widespread indigenous occurrence of musical bows both in Africa and in far-flung areas of the globe as well as the expanding research and public interest in bow music.’
The Conference keynote address will be given by Professor David Dargie, a retired monk, who brought to the world’s attention the sounds of the Xhosa women’s umrhubhe mouth-bow and the mesmerising overtone singing by the women of Ngqoko village in the Lady Frere area of the Eastern Cape.
The Bow Music Conference will include a programme of musical performances showcasing Southern African musical bows such as uhadi and ikatari (Xhosa); the Sotho lesiba, sekhankuri and thomo; the chizambi and chipendani mouthbows of Mozambique and eastern Zimbabwe as well as sitolotolo, makhoyana, umqangala and makhweyana of the Zulu and Swati Nguni.
Some of these musical bows will be on display at the KZNSA Gallery during the conference week.
A significant instrument at the Conference will be the berimbau, the Afro-Brazillian calabash-resonated musical bow that is used in capoeira, the worldwide popular physical game-dance-martial-art that resulted from the presence of African slaves in Brazil.
Several scholarly presentations will focus on the berimbau’s African origins as well as the instrument’s relationship to widespread Bantu bow cultures of Africa’s sub-Saharan region. The programme also includes screenings of director Richard Pakleppa’s documentary film Jogo de Corpo [Body Games] – which traces the roots of capoeira and of the berimbau to Angola and Salil Sachdev’s documentary Tradtitional Music of Mali, West Africa.
Conference presentations will take place at UKZN’s Innovation Centre (Gate 9, Rick Turner Road) on 24, 25 and 26 February. Entrance is free upon registration.
The film and concerts series take place at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on the Howard College campus from 25 - 27 February. Tickets will be available through Computicket.
Daytime events at the KZNSA on Saturday 27 February include a workshop on musical bow-playing, a berimabu orchestra workshop, a musical bow instrument exhibition and a capoeira Angola roda conducted by Mestre Cobra Mansa from Salvador, Bahia-Brazil.
* The 1st International Bow Music Conference is a Sources of Creativity Catalytic Project, funded through a research grant from the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences.