MBIRA and jazz songstress Hope Masike has challenged local music promoters and various stakeholders in the music industry to promote jazz music.
Report by Simbarashe Manhango
Speaking to NewsDay on the sidelines of her performance during the October Jazz Festival at the Book Café last week, Masike said the jazz sector has not been receiving enough support.
“There is need to redefine jazz and develop understanding on the technicalities that revolve around this genre. Besides Jazz festivals that come and go annually, a lot has not been done to support the growth of jazz locally,” said Masike.
“There are no longer venues hosting jazz and above all local promoters are dedicated to other types of music and seem worried about returns when considering this genre.”
She added that local music promoters are the ones that need to make the initial step to bring about transformation in this sector.
“Imagine the popularity which township jazz enjoyed in the past. Things have since changed and the hype is no longer there. What good can we be doing to this rich musical heritage if we don’t support it?”
“Promoters need to invest in concerts and venues that cater for jazz artists. For instance, there are some musical genres that do not even coincide with jazz and artists who are dubbed jazz artists when they are not and this is a bit disrespectful.”
“So it starts with the promoters since they are the big players who are supposed to nurture and support the brand.”
Besides noting some of the challenges faced by jazz artists today, Masike also highlighted the need for artists to follow educative procedures that play a role in developing jazz.
“Perhaps jazz artists also need to consider opening a jazz academy where artists and the media are groomed about what jazz really is.
“The way this genre is treated in foreign countries is different from how we define it locally. Artists need to start going around schools and equip the next generation of jazz artists with the right mindset.
“This way the audience can really get to appreciate and get involved in the development of this genre,” said Masike.
Meanwhile, Masike gave an eclectic performance last week on Thursday at the Book Café when she collaborated with the Italian jazz outfit Down Time Quintet.
“It was exciting and considering that we had not rehearsed at all, the set was amazing I also learnt a lot from this group,”she said.