Harare, 12 Nov: Parade film honours Keith

A Celebration of the life and work of Keith Goddard among BaTonga Musicians
‘LINZ PARADE’  - (Documentary film, Austria, May 2009)
The Mannenberg, Fife Ave, Harare
Thursday 12 November 2009,  6-7.30pm

As a celebration of the life and work of the late Keith Goddard, Pamberi Trust invites you to a film screening of the world music documentary ‘LINZ PARADE’, filmed with Keith and BaTonga musicians of Zimbabwe and Zambia in Austria in May 2009 - another fascinating collaboration between musicians of the world.


In October, a star flickered and died over Zimbabwe with the death of Keith Goddard, musician, composer, teacher, writer, human rights activist - a legend in his own time.

Keith was a promoter of cultural diversity and inter-cultural exchange for many years, and has always been in the forefront in pushing for tolerance and appreciation of cultural and sexual differences in society, and also actively involved in broader human rights campaigning and in the fight for access to affordable treatment for all people living with HIV/AIDS.  He was a multi-faceted individual whose work and play made a strong impact on people across the colour, class and culture barriers throughout the world.

Keith was a brilliant pianist who studied Composition at Durham University. He also applied himself to traditional instruments and studied and played mbira, while exploring other African music forms.  He taught at the Zimbabwe College of Music for many years, and founded the non-profit organisation Kunzwana Trust in the ‘eighties, whose mission statement is ‘to promote the work of Zimbabwean musicians and instrument-makers for fair reward’.  Kunzwana later developed a strong partnership with the Austria-Zimbabwe Friendship Association (AZFA) headed by Peter Kuthan, which produced amazing artistic collaborations over the years, and resulted in life-changing development for many people.

In the early 90s, Keith boarded a rural bus from Entumbane in Bulawayo, in search of the legendary music of the ngoma buntibe of the Tonga people of the Zambezi Valley.  He ended up in the Siachilaba area of the Binga district, where he met and was fascinated by the music of the music group ‘Simonga’.

He said of his first encounter: "I could hear no recurring pattern, sense no periodic rhythm and feel no beat despite the constant jogging on the spot by the horn players and singers. Everything happened in great swirls. I was caught inside a traffic jam of hooters and a whirlpool of women dancing and singing with great force. At times, the horn players would break away and move off into the distance, often dragging me or one of the film crew with them.  When this happened, the drums would settle down to a modest tapping, keeping the basic pattern going. When the horns returned, their approach was welcomed by an upsurge in energy and the "cheerful noise" would start up once more. Although I was baffled by what I was hearing, the fifties avant garde was a firm part of my soundworld and through my experience of it I seriously doubted that Tonga nyele was a random noise. Since then, over the past ten years, I have spent frequent though short stays in the area, mostly around Siachilaba, listening to Valley Tonga music and trying to come to grips with it."

His engagement with Tonga Ngoma Buntibe music and it’s musicians led to ‘The Nyaminyami Festival: A Celebration of Valley Tonga Culture’ in 1997, which brought the music and culture of BaTonga to the cities of Zimbabwe and Austria, and rich cultural exchange between rural Zimbabwean musicians and modern Austrian composers.  With the spotlight on the vivid and unique performance of the ngoma buntibe, the festival also worked to raise awareness of the richness of Tonga culture and help to expose and dispel harmful myths and legends surrounding this marginalised ethnic group.

The festival evolved into a community tourism project with the Siachilaba community, and provided a springboard for the Tonga.Online project which, in collaboration with AZFA, established computers and an Information Technology centre and recording studio at Binga High School, and later to Syanzyundu High and Siachilaba Primary Schools.  The centres have served hundreds of Binga people and are still going strong in the face of huge challenges.

In the Binga area Keith was much-loved in the rural community, and maintained a close relationship with the Siachilaba group of musicians.  For ‘Linz09’, he developed the PARADE concept in collaboration with Peter Kuthan, the latest and last of many extraordinary collaborations between the two which have brought musicians together from all over the world at various times over the last 15 years.  He lived to experience it himself, along with a huge group of BaTonga musicians from Binga, Zimbabwe and Sinazongwe, Zambia, who joined ‘The Parade’ in Linz, Austria, the Cultural Capital of Europe 2009.  

For three days (May 1-3), Linz encountered fascinating soundscapes from a variety of epochs and different corners of the world - the sounds of antelope horns, percussion instruments from the Tonga group, an Austrian brass band and zumari horns from Zanzibar met up with Swiss alphorn players, strolling xylophonists from West Africa and master drummers from the foothills of the Himalayas.

LINZ PARADE shows Keith dancing amongst his Tonga and Austrian friends to the rhythms of the Ngoma Buntibe and the exciting merger of sounds from different parts of the globe.  read and see more on the Parade blog www.linz09.at/parade-blog

Keith’s cultural life was vivid and rich, and he is widely acclaimed in the world for his gift of music and composition.  From small rural homesteads in Zimbabwe to state-of-the-art studios in Austria, by traditional musicians of Mozambique and jazz artists of Harare, he was revered as a gifted individual and a good human being.

Keith’s life was so full and active that the whole history may never be known by any particular group of friends and colleagues.  But there are many, many people whose lives have been touched, and enriched, by knowing him.  For all, he will always be fondly remembered, as by one close friend, ‘for his bad driving, his exceptional kindness, and his insistence on refilling my glass’.

The film screening of Linz Parade at The Mannenberg on Thursday 12 November will be it’s third screening in Zimbabwe, after its presentation in Binga and Siachilaba to the artists involved. The film was produced by Peter Kuthan and Dariusz Kowalski for the Austria-Zimbabwe Friendship Association.

Penny Yon / Pamberi Trust
The Book Cafe & Mannenberg Jazz Club
Fife Avenue mall (upstairs), cnr Fife Ave/6th Street
Harare, Zimbabwe
Tel: 263- 4- 793182, 792551