28 June 2018

Zimbabwe: Artistes Hold Inaugural Dancehall Summit

It has taken over two decades for the local reggae dancehall -- popularly known as Zimdancehall -- stakeholders to finally come together and deliberate on how to sink their roots in the local art industry, expand their horizon and develop a business model that sustains artistes.

Today, history will be made when artistes hold an inaugural Zimdancehall Summit at the Zimbabwe College of Music. Over 30 panellists are expected to participate, among them journalists, arts managers, promoters and musicians.

They will among other issues focus on the foundation and current situation of the genre, creating an industry, social impact and the future.

One of the organisers, Plot Mhako said the event is aimed at creating linkages among stakeholders.

"The summit will curate opportunities that spark meaningful connections and cultivate worthy relationships. It will enlighten and inform the Zimdancehall community by providing invaluable insight, tools and resources to build an economy and an industry," he said.

Though the Zimdancehall Summit failed to get any funding, the organisers are ready to host the event.

"The main challenge was reaching out to stakeholders, explaining to them and getting their buy-in but ultimately the response was progressive," he said.

Critics have questioned the criteria in coming up with the panel which consists of some experts who are not part of the Zimdancehall movement, with veterans like Winky D and his manager Jonathan Banda being were left out.

Other also question the viability of having 30 panellists on a day event.

Some of the panellists include arts, marketing, and events specialist Benjy Nyandoro, veteran music producer Mono Mukundu, pioneering musician in the genre Sniper Storm, arts journalist Nigel Pfunde and Edith Weutonga representing Zimbabwe Musicians Union.

Mhako said their selection criteria was broad and focused on issues they want to discuss.

"On artists we took a cross generational approach including people like Sniper Storm who were in the genre way before it was called Zimdancehall and someone from the new crop of artists like Nutty O," he said.

"We also have promoters like Dee Nosh who have been at the forefront of hosting local and international events in the country.

"Mukundu will have a lot of knowledge based on his long years working with several bands including Tuku's Black Spirits and now his successful music production business."

Mhako added that they had initially invited a lot of stakeholders but some had prior commitments.

By yesterday 290 people had registered to participate at the summit.

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