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Dominic Muntanga
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mulonga.net >> Cultural Exchange >> Current Events >> MOKOOMBA - another encounter with Tonga culture in Austria
MOKOOMBA - another encounter with Tonga culture in Austria
Wednesday, 17 May 2017 18:39

The highlight of this years cultural exchange programme will be a concert on 2nd June at Kino Ebensee / Austria performed by Mokoomba - "Zimbabwe's hottest export" (Songlines) and joined by Isabelle Duthoit /FR and Franz Hautzinger / AUT who will musically reflect on their visit to Siachilaba on their way to HIFA in 2014.

Mokoomba's newly released CD Luyando received much praise, especially during their current US tour: "With Luyando, Mokoomba makes the rather bold move of going acoustic, and digging deeper into their Tonga roots." Afropop Worldwide http://www.afropop.org/35137/luyando/ more: http://www.popmatters.com/review/mokoomba-luyando/

Over the weekend 3/4 June there will be a workshop with Mokoomba, the South African singer Nomfusi and Austrian musicians to develop a better understanding and hopefully new tunes. This endeavour will conclude with more "music on the move" in open space along the shores of lake Traunsee / Traunkirchen.

The forthcoming cultural exchange programme will also provide for a platform for the voices and perspectives of Tonga women with the photo exhibition "Inside/Insight Siachilaba" at Frauenforum Salzkammergut whereby Siachilaba women are expressing their views on everyday's life.

Furthermore, there will be a display of the multimedia interface "Tales of Resilience" by artists from Time's Up Linz, who have been exploring the stories and accounts of women in Siachilaba too. These photographs and Interface have been shown in exhibitions in Harare, Vienna and other places in 2014/15 already.   http://www.timesup.org/ToR-Exhibition06

Finally, the film "Across the River" by Michael Pilz which is covering the encounters in 1997 will be shown at Kino Ebensee. http://www.cultureunplugged.com/storyteller/Michael%20Pilz#/myFilms

A year ago in June 2016 we had the chance to organise an inspiring encounter between Mokoomba and some Austrian musicians along the shores of Grundlsee in the lovely lake district between Styria and Upper Austria.  see: https://www.dorftv.at/video/25190

This meeting has not only established commitments for further collaboration but also recalled stories about the legendary expedition of some 30 Tonga musicians from Siachilaba across the Dead Mountains / Totes Gebirge in 1997.

We have been convinced that this musical encounter is worth to be taken further into 2017 when it will be 20 years since this expedition took place. By then the well known Austrian writer Alfred Komarek wrote into the festival diary:  "the Dead Mountains are now towering into the skies of Zimbabwe, there is no doubt. The Tonga have conjured a New Prielschutzhaus and a New Appelhaus (mountain huts). At long last the Karst (rock) has sounded as it always intended to sound. And the fires of Ebensee (at the end of the expedition at the shores of the lake Traunsee) will be burning further in Africa." Indeed, this encounter in 1997 sparked not only a series of further cultural exchanges between Austria and ZImbabwe but also some initiatives to assist the Tonga community on both sides of the Zambezi to improve their access to means of communication.

In line with this vision we have concluded for 2017 - "let's meet again for a three to four days encounter to explore the echoes of Tonga music further - from traditional Ngoma Buntibe to the contemporary, be it Afrofusion or/and improvised". This project has now materialised with a focus on Ebensee (where the expedition in 1997 has ended) and with new partners like Kino Ebensee and Frauenforum / womens league Salzkammergut on board. There is also ongoing support by Freies Radio Salzkammergut partnering with other Free Community Radios in Austria in the effort to assist the Tonga community with our Tonga.OnAir radio programme for Zongwe.FM in Sinazongwe on the Zambian shore of Lake Kariba.