The First International Bow Music Conference, opens at the University of KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday 24 February. Running until 27 February over three venues (The Innovation Centre and Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre at University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Howard College Campus as well as the KZNSA in Bulwer Road, Glenwood), events include several academic paper presentations, an evening of film screenings, as well as bow music performances – all of which are open to public participation and attendance.
The Innovation Centre (Gate 9 – Rick Turner Road) will be the platform for the presentation of a number of research papers gathered from the call for proposals late last year, and will feature presenters from South Africa, Germany, USA, Brazil and United Kingdom. Registration takes place on Wednesday (24 February) from 08:00 – 10:30 and an optional fee of R200 will include tea and lunch.
The exciting performance programme kicks off on Wednesday with the staging of a Bow Jam in partnership with the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music regular Wednesday night concert series at the Centre. The Bow Jam will feature Grupo Percussao, a berimbau ensemble from the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil. Led by percussionist, composer and Northern Illinois University academic Gregory Beyer, the group will perform excerpts of works from its Arcomusical Project for sextet, quintet, quartet, trio, duet and solo berimbau. Part of the evening’s entertainment will see conference delegates introducing themselves and their favourite musical bows in song.
The Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on Thursday (25 February) will host screenings of the films “The Traditional Music of Mali, West Africa” by Salil Sachdev and “Jogo de Corpo” (Body Games) – The Angolan Roots of Capoeira, directed by Richard Pakleppa, tickets are R10. Friday and Saturday evening (26 & 27 February) will see an extensive bow music performance programme, with Xhosa bow legends Madosini Mpahleni and Mantombi Matotiyane sharing the stage with other veteran exponents of the rich southern African bow music traditions: such as Lesotho’s Mme ‘Matlali Kheoana and Makhetha Setlaba, Sekuru Muradzikwa from Zimbabwe, Bhemani Magagula and Khokhiwe Mphila of Swaziland, Bavikile Ngema of Zululand and Mozambicans Ernesto Mathusi and Maneto Tefula. Friday will see another presentation of Brazilian berimbau ensemble Grupo Percussao. Tickets are R50 and available from Computicket or at the Box Office.
On Saturday 27th, the KZNSA is the venue for an interactive session of bow music workshops, a Capoeira Angola Roda led by Mestre Cobra Mansa (Brazil) and an exhibition of musical bows curated by the conference convenor Dr Sazi Dlamini. All are welcome to attend. Workshops start at 10am. Early arrival is recommended to ensure availability.