Gehende Musik aus allen Himmelsrichtungen / Music on the move
Harare - honouring Keith
Categories: Documentation

A Celebration of the life and work of Keith Goddard among BaTonga Musicians
‘LINZ PARADE’  - (Documentary film, Austria, May 2009)
The Mannenberg, Fife Ave, Harare
Thursday 12 November 2009,  6-7.30pm

As a celebration of the life and work of the late Keith Goddard, Pamberi Trust invites you to a film screening of the world music documentary ‘LINZ PARADE’, filmed with Keith and BaTonga musicians of Zimbabwe and Zambia in Austria in May 2009 - another fascinating collaboration between musicians of the world. 

In October, a star flickered and died over Zimbabwe with the death of Keith Goddard, musician, composer, teacher, writer, human rights activist - a legend in his own time.

Keith was a promoter of cultural diversity and inter-cultural exchange for many years, and has always been in the forefront in pushing for tolerance and appreciation of cultural and sexual differences in society, and also actively involved in broader human rights campaigning and in the fight for access to affordable treatment for all people living with HIV/AIDS.  He was a multi-faceted individual whose work and play made a strong impact on people across the colour, class and culture barriers throughout the world.

Keith was a brilliant pianist who studied Composition at Durham University. He also applied himself to traditional instruments and studied and played mbira, while exploring other African music forms.  He taught at the Zimbabwe College of Music for many years, and founded the non-profit organisation Kunzwana Trust in the ‘eighties, whose mission statement is ‘to promote the work of Zimbabwean musicians and instrument-makers for fair reward’.  Kunzwana later developed a strong partnership with the Austria-Zimbabwe Friendship Association (AZFA) headed by Peter Kuthan, which produced amazing artistic collaborations over the years, and resulted in life-changing development for many people.

In the early 90s, Keith boarded a rural bus from Entumbane in Bulawayo, in search of the legendary music of the ngoma buntibe of the Tonga people of the Zambezi Valley.  He ended up in the Siachilaba area of the Binga district, where he met and was fascinated by the music of the music group ‘Simonga’. 

He said of his first encounter: “I could hear no recurring pattern, sense no periodic rhythm and feel no beat despite the constant jogging on the spot by the horn players and singers. Everything happened in great swirls. I was caught inside a traffic jam of hooters and a whirlpool of women dancing and singing with great force. At times, the horn players would break away and move off into the distance, often dragging me or one of the film crew with them.  When this happened, the drums would settle down to a modest tapping, keeping the basic pattern going. When the horns returned, their approach was welcomed by an upsurge in energy and the “cheerful noise” would start up once more. Although I was baffled by what I was hearing, the fifties avantgarde was a firm part of my soundworld and through my experience of it I seriously doubted that Tonga nyele was a random noise. Since then, over the past ten years, I have spent frequent though short stays in the area, mostly around Siachilaba, listening to Valley Tonga music and trying to come to grips with it.”

His engagement with Tonga Ngoma Buntibe music and it’s musicians led to ‘The Nyaminyami Festival: A Celebration of Valley Tonga Culture’ in 1997, which brought the music and culture of BaTonga to the cities of Zimbabwe and Austria, and rich cultural exchange between rural Zimbabwean musicians and modern Austrian composers.  With the spotlight on the vivid and unique performance of the ngoma buntibe, the festival also worked to raise awareness of the richness of Tonga culture and help to expose and dispel harmful myths and legends surrounding this marginalised ethnic group.

The festival evolved into a community tourism project with the Siachilaba community, and provided a springboard for the Tonga.Online project which, in collaboration with AZFA, established computers and an Information Technology centre and recording studio at Binga High School, and later to Syanzyundu High and Siachilaba Primary Schools.  The centres have served hundreds of Binga people and are still going strong in the face of huge challenges. 

In the Binga area Keith was much-loved in the rural community, and maintained a close relationship with the Siachilaba group of musicians.  For ‘Linz09’, he developed the PARADE concept in collaboration with Peter Kuthan, the latest and last of many extraordinary collaborations between the two which have brought musicians together from all over the world at various times over the last 15 years.  He lived to experience it himself, along with a huge group of BaTonga musicians from Binga, Zimbabwe and Sinazongwe, Zambia, who joined ‘The Parade’ in Linz, Austria, the Cultural Capital of Europe 2009. 

For three days (May 1-3), Linz encountered fascinating soundscapes from a variety of epochs and different corners of the world - the sounds of antelope horns, percussion instruments from the Tonga group, an Austrian brass band and zumari horns from Zanzibar met up with Swiss alphorn players, strolling balaphonists from West Africa and master drummers from the foothills of the Himalayas.
LINZ PARADE shows Keith dancing amongst his Tonga and Austrian friends to the rhythms of the Ngoma Buntibe and the exciting merger of sounds from different parts of the globe.

Keith’s cultural life was vivid and rich, and he is widely acclaimed in the world for his gift of music and composition.  From small rural homesteads in Zimbabwe to state-of-the-art studios in Austria, by traditional musicians of Mozambique and jazz artists of Harare, he was revered as a gifted individual and a good human being.
Keith’s life was so full and active that the whole history may never be known by any particular group of friends and colleagues.  But there are many, many people whose lives have been touched, and enriched, by knowing him.  For all, he will always be fondly remembered, as by one close friend, ‘for his bad driving, his exceptional kindness, and his insistence on refilling my glass’.

The film screening of Linz Parade at The Mannenberg on Thursday 12 November will be it’s third screening in Zimbabwe, after its presentation in Binga to the artists involved. The film was produced by Peter Kuthan and Dariusz Kowalski for the Austria-Zimbabwe Friendship Association.

Pamberi Trust
The Book Cafe & Mannenberg Jazz Club
Fife Avenue mall (upstairs), cnr Fife Ave/6th Street
Harare, Zimbabwe
Tel: 263- 4- 793182, 792551

Categories: Documentation -

4 Comments to “Harare - honouring Keith”

  1. Penny Yon says:

    Hi Peter,

    I got the copy of the Linz Parade video documentary from Binga today, and IT’S GREAT! How wonderful to see all those musicians and how I wish I could have been there to share that amazing experience with Keith for the last time. Anyway, I am SO HAPPY that he enjoyed such a large dose (!) and time with his Austrian musician friends, and Simonga/Maliko in the last part of his life.

    We will be screening it at The Mannenberg on Thur 12 November, and advertising widely to reach the many many people who knew and loved him. Will take pics and let you know how it goes.

    More later,

  2. Penny Yon says:

    The film screening last night was great, with 38 attending, friends, people from civil society, GALZ, Zim College of Music and of course Hivos and Pamberi Trust, as well as lots of artists who have known and respected Keith and his music. More about this later Peter. ZCM is asking to screen the film again at the college - may we have your permission? Please pass our thanks and best wishes to all involved in Parade - it was truly amazing! and good to know our Austrian friends are still pushing out there for BaTonga music!

  3. annette eastwood says:

    A couple of days ago I attended this film as part of a series of events commemorating the life of Keith Goddard. I was fascinated by the concept, and simply had to get your address to tell you how much I enjoyed the whole spectacle of local Austrians being exposed to all sorts of different musical experiences that even people in the home countries of some of the performers never get to hear. It was also an interesting experiment given the history of Austria and it’s ascendancy into economic prosperity after WWII. It was an amazing juxtaposition of cultures. I do congratulate you on this very brave effort, and I applaud both you and Keith for managing to pull it off so successfully. If you ever come out here again, please get in touch.

  4. Barbara Vitoria says:

    I saw the Parade film at the Book Café a week ago. Looked amazing. Seeing Keith there I did really regret that I did not go to what turned out to be his last interaction with the Tonga.

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