Countdown to Music at University of Dar es Salaam…


By Jaston Binala.


Allow me to interrupt you, please, for a moment with important ‘breaking news’  meant to free you from the boredom of hard stuff you may have been reading.The article is on music. So please relax!

Just in case you were reading those boring financial statement ratios accountants are so crazy about, there is not one mention of ratios here; no mention of  average stockholders’ equity ratios, no mention of double taxation agreements,  no mention of return on equity ratios—not even the famous current assets ratio. Who wants to study figures on supply and demand curves  on a week-end anyway!

The days left  before the University of Dar es Salaam Ethnomusicology symposim can now be counted on your finger tips, with  July 16th, 2015 as the big day when the symposium opens at the Fine and Performing Arts Department.

The annual symposium this year will be the ninth, and,  as always, it is expected to be a great time to watch music performance and listen to scholarly presentations on the subject of African music; sometimes music from other cultures is presented too.

This will be the second time the event is organized without the involvement of its founder, Professor Mitchel Strumph, but who will be at the event this year—not as organizer, but as one of the invited speakers. The same as last year, the Symposium is this year organized by  Dr Kedmon Mapana, assisted by Dr Mathayo Ndomondo, both from the UDSM department of Fine and Performing Arts.

Dr. Mapana was recently quoted by the Government owned ‘Daily News’ as saying he was confident the event  will be a success:  “It would be naive of me to say we will not miss the zeal and energy Mitchel exerted for the previous eight episodes of this event, but we are confident we will be able to keep the flame alive,” he said.

“To [be] sure of the success we’ve trimmed down the presentations to 15,” he said. Last year was the first time Dr. Mapana coordinated the event, although Prof. Strumph  was kind of looking from above his shoulder to be sure his successor was doing OK. Prof. Strumph then moved from the Fine and Performing Arts Department (FPAD) of the UDSM to join the Dhow Countries Music Academy in Stone Town, Zanzibar. Dr. Mapana was assisted by Dr Mathayo Ndomondo, also from the department of performing arts at UDSM.

Goethe-Institut continues to bear the major brunt of financing the symposium. “We, as the Goethe-Institut, would not lose anything but I think the university and the music department would lose something because of the international exchanges and what the Symposium can do to network people,” Eleonore Sylla, the Goethe-Institut’s Director, was quoted by the Government owned Daily News as saying.

The two-day event is scheduled to start on July 16 and will be preceded by a symposium that will also be held for two days. As was the case in the past eight additions, the intention is to bring scholars, students, musicians and the general public together to share their interests in the music traditions of Africa and music education.

The theme of this year’s symposium is: “Music in Africa today: Uses, Practices and Children’s Musical Cultures”. Keynote lectures will be presented by Prof Tiago de Oliveira Pinto, professor of musicology, University of Music Franz Liszt Weimar, German and Dr. Benson Kigozi, lecturer of music education at the University of Makerere. Other prominent presenters will include Barbara Lundquist from the University of Washington, USA.