Our final events in Zimbabwe were today’s two workshops. The first took place at the St. Giles Center in a room packed with young kids with some parents and staff at the back. The music teacher showed us the mbiras that some of the children were learning to play and gave us a quick lesson.
Then the school mbira ensemble got things rolling with a few tunes. After that we went through our usual workshop material, but it was intermixed with performances by the children and a few children’s songs. It was wonderful to be there and see the joy the kids had singing and clapping with us. A special moment came when we had the honor of performing with the mbira ensemble.
Our second workshop took place at the Young Africa Skills Centre in Chitungwiza, an underserved area of about one million people outside of Harare. Jillian, Jasna and I took a short tour of the site with the program director and heard about the great work being done there to provide vocational training, educational support and other services to the area’s youth.
The workshop opened with some impressive breakdancing by a group of program participants. Very cool! We then went through the workshop with some spontaneous collaborations with singers near the end. We ended with our version of Bebop, getting the breakdancers back up for a nice finale!
We mostly did workshops here in Zimbabwe rather than concerts with collaboration being a thread running through everything. Even at the first performance we had the pleasure of playing with some of the talented Prince Edward School students. We had a fantastic visit, met a lot of wonderful people, heard a lot of nice music and saw a lot of beautiful sights.