ARTS promoter and curator Eleni Athikati has announced that she will be hosting the first ever Vinyl Festival in Zimbabwe at Ella the Garden in Newlands, Harare from Tuesday May 21 to 26.

Athikati, who was born in Zimbabwe and raised in South Africa and Greece, told NewsDay Life & Style that the vinyl record was almost becoming extinct, yet it is the most trustworthy memory bank of Zimbabwean folk and musical history.

A vinyl record or a phonograph record (also known as a gramophone record, especially in British English) is described as an analog sound storage medium in the form of a flat disc with an inscribed, modulated spiral groove.

Most Zimbabwean music was recorded and stored on a vinyl record and would be played on a radiogram. Fused sungura band Bantu Spaceship whose music was recently recorded on vinyl will headline the Vinyl Festival which has lined up several local, regional and international vinyl DJs.

“I have been organising arts events in the garden including Katikitiki Space since 2010 when I came back to Zimbabwe from Greece and identified lots of gaps in the arts industry of which some can be collectively solved.

“Artistes have in most cases lamented the misrepresentations by middlemen and artistes can now market and speak for themselves from the Garden and Katikitiki Space,” Athikati told NewsDay Life & Style.

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“The Vinyl Festival in Zimbabwe will take place at the Ella Garden in Newlands in Harare from Tuesday May 21 to 26. Katikitiki Space will be our main stage and it will mainly be Vinyl DJs, including a performance from the Bantu Spaceship band.”

There are many reasons advanced as to why the vinyl record was phased out or became scarce on the market.

Athikati believes that the coming of the compact disc, which was more conveniently played on a cheaper play back device was one reason among many others, which include but are not limited to shelving of antiquated vinyl disc cutting machines and the arrival of digitised forms like MP3, mini disc and solely digital discographies.

The vinyl can further be described as an analog audio recording pressed in vinyl. The 45 revolutions per minute (RPM) record holds one song per side, while 33 1/3 RPM and long play (LP) record holds an entire album.

Athikati clarified that on May 21 there will be a Vinyl Fest launch which will mainly be characterised by meeting and greeting. All evenings will be musical events which feature local and international vinyl DJs, while in the afternoons experts and academics in the music industry will conduct workshops.

“Wednesday May 22 afternoon from 12-4pm, there will be a turntable workshop on vinyl and new music hosted by @nyauist (CPT) and Fabian Freedom Youth (CPT) and in the evening 17:00-20:00 hours listening session plus discussion with @bikoemcee; Professor Joosty on Vinyls and Sound System Culture (UK/JHB).

“Thursday May 23, 12:00-16:00 there will be Turning Tables 2 DJ Lab workshop hosted by DJ Lua and Farakataza on Women and Vinyl History and in the evening 18:00-20:00 Scratch: Documentary screening and discussion by Tomas Brickhill and Shade of a Woman,” She highlighted.

The Gramma Records which housed Zimbabwe Music Corporation and the Record and Tape Promotions was the major supplier of vinyl records in Zimbabwe.

Afro-fusion band Mokoomba has also in the recent past made recordings sold on vinyl in Europe, Athikati said.

She also mentioned that the Katikitiki Space has a public address system and band kit which has been specifically reserved for small bands which can manage their performances at very low volumes.