Developing the proposal

In 2016 the Global Music e.V. applied for a grant to conduct research and documentation in Zimbabwe from the Kulturerhalt (Culture Preservation) program of the German Foreign Ministry in co-operation with the Music Crossroads Academy in Zimbabwe.

The aim of the grant proposal was to train the teachers at the Academy to document their own cultural heritage on video using modern recording technology and show them how to develop teaching videos and teaching materials which capture the essential elements of the music in order to empower them to develop relevant new curriculum for their teaching program at the Academy.

The next step

This project represents the second stage of the development of the Academy, having learnt to read, write and transcribe African music, the task of documenting their rich musical culture was the next step to take.


Documenting the Drum Culture of Chiweshe and the Mbira and Sungura Guitar Styles in Zimbabwe
(1st April 2017 – 31st December 2017)

Zimbabwe is home to a great number of unique dance drumming styles located in isolated rural communities which are under threat as young people migrate to the cities to look for work. These drum rhythms are an integral part of the Zimbabwean cultural identity and there are currently no musicians capable of capturing these skills and techniques which could provide the basis for a whole new range of music styles if a group of musicians/teachers were trained to document them properly and find new uses for them in a changing cultural context.

Zimbabwe is also home to some of the most interesting guitar styles incorporating playing techniques, both rhythmic and melodic, from traditional instruments like the mBira (Lamellophone). As many of the best guitarists have already died there is a need to document these playing techniques systematically, including the underlying technical principles used to create the different styles, to enable them to be passed on to future generations.

  • To capture the music in two separate culture areas – Dance Drumming (including accompanying songs) and two important Zimbabwean Guitar Styles based on traditional instrument techniques which arose during the 20th century.
  • To develop a series of videos as a result of the research and documentation which will preserve and document the music collected in such a way that they can be used for teaching purposes, not only in the new curriculum for the Academy but also in other institutions in Zimbabwe and within the Global Music Campus Network.
  • To train a group of teachers at the Music Crossroads Academy Zimbabwe in documentation techniques, using video, audio and written transcriptions to ensure that the trainees are capable of conducting the research and documentation autonomously by the end of the project.

The Project will document five drum rhythms from the Chiweshe communal lands 140km north of Harare.

  1. Fonda
  2. Makwingwindo
  3. Dinhe
  4. Jiti
  5. Ma Dandanda

In addition we will document two guitar styles with 5 guitarists who are still alive:

  1. The Mbira guitar style
  2. The Sungura guitar style
Development of two main intellectual outputs
  1. A methodology for conducting documentation based on the experiences gained and lessons which can be used as a model for capturing oral music culture by the partner organizations based on a peer-to-peer learning approach.
  2. A series of teaching videos and curricula to be shared with all the partner countries documenting the results.

Both outputs will be accessible on this website.The results will also be presented at the East African Performing Arts Market (DOADOA) in May 2018 and documented on this website.

This project is funded by the Kulturerhalt Program of the German Foreign Office and co-ordinated by the Global Music e.V. in Berlin in co-operation with the Music Crossroads Trust Zimbabwe and the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe.

This project is supported by: