Today (Sunday) was media day! At 10AM we met with over a half a dozen journalists representing various print and online publications and a photographer. They had very interesting questions.
Can you tell us how you’ll be interacting with people here in Zimbabwe?
Give a brief history of jazz.
How popular is jazz in the black community in America?
What is the relationship between jazz and blues?
Who are some of the jazz musicians you know from Zimbabwe? Do you know any from South Africa?
These and many other questions were thrown our way. We answered them to the best of our ability, but it is clear to us that we there is much that we do not know about Zimbabwean music and musicians. Being the curious individuals that we are, we used the occasion to learn more about the local scene. There are indeed many vary interesting and highly accomplished musicians from Zimbabwe, such as Oliver Mtukudzi, Louis Mhlanga, Thomas Mapfumo, The Cool Crooners (who we will be meeting), et al. In addition, mbira music is traditional among the Shona people and our knowledge of it is rudimentary. There is much for us to learn. (And there always will be.)
The embassy PR staff has done an amazing job of publicizing our visit and there have already been a number of press articles. Apparently there will be many more.
After the radio interview, we learned of the possibility for one of us to be interviewed on Wednesday on live TV. It is a wonderful opportunity, but there is a catch: it is early in the morning. It took us a few hours to decide that Michael will do it. How did we become such celebrities?
After this press session, we split up. Greg stayed at the hotel while the rest of us, including Jillian and Jasna, headed to a mall for a quick lunch. From there Jillian, Michael and I went on to a radio station for a live interview with Jasna and Jeff staying behind to do some shopping. At the radio station, questions came again fast and sometimes unexpectedly. We answered as best we could. We are improvisers after all, but this really put our skills to the test.
The day had already been busy, but it was just beginning. We had a brief rest break before traveling to Prince Edward School for a sound check and concert. Here we were privileged to hear some of the talented highschool age student musicians in the jazz band program. They played before our concert and with us at the end. I hope that it was as fun for them as it was for us.
As has been the norm on this tour, we were inundated with questions after the show. We actually encourage this exchange and pass out business cards with our contact information on them so that people will be able to contact us even after we leave. It took a while for us to pack up and bring our conversations to a close, but we finally were able to get everything and everyone into the van. The evening closed again with a late meal before turning in. It was a full day.