Monday, February 6, 2017

North and a Little East to Zimbabwe (a lesson in humility)

The Salvation Army-Zimbabwe Territorial Band (ZTB)

Founded in 2004 according to their Facebook page this ensemble consists of players with high standards musically and spiritually.  The Facebook page contains some videos of low to midrange quality.  Excellent pictures of the band. There is a developmental band, and they appear to operate a music contest of sorts.  The most recent activity was preparation for the 125th anniversary of the Salvation Army performing work in the country.

 Zimbabwe has suffered many a political and health malady over the years.  25% of the population were diagnosed with HIV in the late 90's according to and the country lost membership in the Commonwealth of Nations for election fraud according to the Human Rights First Organization.  This is a country in a state of transition.

The band is located in the capital city of Harare in the province of Mashanoland.  Zimbabwe was a former colony of the British Empire known as Rhodesia for those interested in how a the Salvation Army or a Brass Band would pop up in Southeast Africa.  

Here are some videos of their work.  These are not the greatest quality, but it will give you an idea of what they do.
2015 "Where Duty Calls"
"Amazing Race"

I must confess that the music is not played in tune, with good tone, balance, or dynamic but the performers and audience are engaged, the rhythms are good, and you can recognize melody, harmony, and bass lines.  The country is developing after years of strife and civil discord.  To have any musical ensemble of amateur let alone professional quality at this time is pretty amazing.  It shows that even in the most difficult areas of our world human perseverance and artistic creativity will not be silenced.  According to the video comment it is a National Tourism Policy Document Signing Ceremony.

I wish everyone in this ensemble good luck as they work to provide inspiration through their music.  It takes great dedication and courage to make music in a time where basic services for the population are still being developed following years of civil discord.  Keep it up!  The arts define us a human beings.

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