Music Computer Workshop - Konjila - Report + Feedback

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“Konjila” ( chiTonga for “come in”)

a music and computer workshop held at Binga ITC from 16 – 20 September 2003

listen to "konjila" , a sample of the outcome of the workshop.

see images of the workshop.

Focus: Using computers for the teaching, learning and recording of music

Resource Persons

Klaus Hollinetz (for AZFA)
Keith Goddard (Kunzwana Trust)

12 participants

5 Teachers Binga (Various Schools)
1 Teacher Victoria Falls (Mosi Sec School)
2 Musicians Binga (Simonga)
2 Research Binga (Batonga Museum)
1 Lecturer Bulawayo (United college of education)
1 Artist Zambia (Choma Museum)

 The workshop started on Wednesday 16-09-03 with an exploration of sine tones versus noise and how sine tones may be distinguished from noise by studying the waves for both sine tones and noise. Various aspects of sound waves such as amplitude were also covered. Participants learnt to use the minidisc recorder and in the afternoon all workshop participants went to Siachilaba where a field recording of the Simonga group performing was done.

On the second day the recording of Simonga was then used to go through the various steps of editing, which covered the analysing, filtering and converting of the audio file to mp3 for uploading onto the Internet. The afternoon session was disrupted due to technical problems with the computer and the participants then went out to collect more sounds while the computer was being attended to.

On the third day the audio material from the first and second days was then used together to come up with a composition, which the participants entitled “Konjila”, which is Tonga for “come in”.

To come up with the final product, it was necessary to separate the drums as well as the Nyele (horns) from the Simonga recording. Other sounds used were those of footsteps, dripping water, children in a class, the school bell ringing, a door opening and banging, among others. All the sounds were recorded and edited by the participants as part of the workshop.

A challenge that came up as a result of the workshop was that of notating the Ngoma Buntibe Music as well as researching further on it.

The workshop was funded by the Austrian Embassy in Harare and supported by Otto Lechner & Windhund with the generous donation of a mini disc recorder. Thank you. Twalumba!!

Sengamo Ndlovu,
music teacher at Binga Highschool

“Go to Binga” for “Music and Computers”!

The Music and Computers Workshop which took place at Binga High School from 16-18 September 2003 and the stakeholders meeting on Saturday 19 made valuable statements regarding the interest in and need for digital technologies in what are traditionally referred to as 'more remote areas'. Binga Information Technology Centre ITC and the planned satellite centres at Siachilaba and Sianzyundu have the potential to become the cutting edge for computer training and information dissemination not just for Matabeleland but for the whole of Zimbabwe.

Binga is also providing an important lead for the use of computers as a compositional tool. The training provided in the use of the new computer music workstation was a first in Zimbabwe and was offered to music teachers from four centres in the South of Zimbabwe. The fact that this training could take place in Binga is highly significant. Those attending the course had some idea about what they wanted from the workshop but their expectations were not only met but transcended. The production of a small soundscape by the participants in under 3 days demonstrated that concepts of electro-acoustic music production are not foreign or bizarre to people outside contemporary music circles.

Participants expressed an interest in exploring matters relating to computers and notation and a follow-up workshop is planned for next year which will tackle matters relating to the representation of sound especially in connection to the analysis and understanding of Tonga Ngoma Buntibe music which, until now, using traditional techniques, has defied accurate transcription. That the tools for this analysis are in the hands of those who produce this music is highly significant.

The archiving of living culture was of particular interest to those working in museums. The production of sound installations by music students to accompany Binga museum exhibitions will soon become a reality. No other museum in Zimbabwe has been offered this potential.

It is my belief that, in five years time, when people think about training in matters relating to information technology or music and computers, the first thought that will come to mind will be "Let's Go to Binga".

Keith Goddard
Development Director/ KUNZWANA Trust

Post Workshop Developments

Since the workshop, three local groups of young people and one individual have come forward to enquire on the possibility of them recording their music.

One of the music groups within the school are in the process of recording and we are currently working on finding the best method of getting a more professional quality recording with the available equipment.

We are still awaiting a USB card which WorLD is sourcing for the center to buy before moving the PC to the storeroom where the Audio room is intended to be set up. This means that the computer is currently underused due to the activities within the centre right through the day, everyday.

I have been in touch with Radio Dialogue, a community based radio station with recording facilities in Bulawayo, with the view of taping into their experience and exploring possibilities of teaming up for the bulk production of cassettes and CDs in future. Their response is favourable and their Manager, Father Nigel Johnson is very much interested in Tonga Music. I have copied the Simonga CD for him and am awaiting his analysis of it and how he feels they might use it during their broadcasts should their application for a licence be approved soon. I have, however indicated to him that there is a need for me to get clearance first as to the condition surrounding the use of the CD for live broadcasts.

Sengamo Ndlovu,
music teacher at Binga Highschool