(event) Africa in Austin

Event Category: 
Texas Folklife Event
Event Date: 
Mon Oct 29, 2018 - 6:00PM to 8:00PM

Texas Folklife Presents "Africa in Austin" Texas Folklife Gallery October 29, 2018 6pm-8pm Msafiri Zawose and Newton Cheza-Chozengwa (“Matemai”) are respected master musicians, singers, and instrument makers in their respective countries, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Both have developed distinct musical styles through their interpretations of “tradition.” Matemai is known for his original songs realized in complex mbira arrangements; the mbira (a type of thumb piano) is one of the primary traditional instruments of the Shona people of Zimbabwe. Msafiri is similarly known for his innovative approach to the music of the Wagogo, an ethnic group that historically inhabited central Tanzania, relying heavily on traditional Gogo instruments such as the limba (a type of thumb piano) and zeze (a bowed/plucked lute). Importantly, a profound commitment to creative, cross-cultural collaboration undergirds both of their innovative musical styles. Alongside showcasing and sharing their original music and cultural traditions in an education-performance tour, Msafiri and Matemai have come to Austin to participate in collaborative music-making sessions with each other and a collection of Austin-based musicians. These sessions are meant to explore the potential of cross-cultural creativity and music making as profound resources for the stewardship of diversity in a time of increasingly divisive global nationalism. The Texas Folklife concert will feature solo sets by Msafiri and Matemai as well as a collective performance presenting new collaborative material. Msafiri and Matemai will be joined by Peter Breithaupt, a Ph.D. student in ethnomusicology at the University of Texas at Austin and scholar of Tanzanian popular music, and Joel Laviolette, Director of Austin’s Rattletree School of Marimba and longtime student of Matemai.This event is made possible in part by the board and members of Texas Folklife, and by grants from the Texas Commission on the Arts with an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art, and the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department.