How often do you attend a party or a club night in Lusaka, or anywhere else in Zambia for that matter and see a woman spinning the decks? Exactly. Not very often. This isn’t because women are naturally less talented than men or because men have a better understanding of crowds and nightlife but because women aren’t afforded the same opportunities to learn or outwardly express their skills and passions as men are.
In tandem with lack of opportunities and platforms, are a number of traditional societal and cultural norms that further shroud and limit the experiences of women within many areas of life, nightlife being one of the most prominent. According to these social and cultural narratives, especially within Traditional African societies, the place of a woman is at home, within the family setting. Taking care of children, cooking and cleaning.
The more contemporary narrative tells a different story. Women are no longer subjects of hierarchies in which men sit comfortably at the top. Women define their own existences without adhering to the stereotypes forced upon them by society. Women get to choose who they want to be and what direction they want their lives to take.
Though there has been a shift in the mind sets of women, there still exist fairly wide gender gaps in many areas of life. One of the values at the core of Modzi Arts is the empowering of groups and individuals in society who we feel are often marginalised and disenfranchised within the creative sphere.
Our latest project Rackless Kazi in collaboration with the British Council Southern African Arts programme was a 6-day female exclusive DJ Residency was structured around breaking the yokes of traditional values and beliefs by promoting the position of young African women in the electronic music industry.
The Residency was facilitated by 4 international mentor DJ’s, Rosie Parade from Johannesburg, DJ Sichi from Ndola, Alba Nalo from Windhoek and Jamz Supernova from London.
During the week period the mentors imparted their skills and knowledge with a group of 7 mid-level and amateur DJ’s various countries within the SADC region through industry masterclasses (on topics like Marketing and Branding) and technical workshops (on practical skills, such as operating mixers and decks). Participants and mentors also attended events central to being within the electronic music industry such as a press release lunch and a networking party.
The workshops, masterclasses and surrounding events not only served their intended purpose of providing a platform for skill-sharing as well as the promotion of women in the industry but also had the ability to forge personal bonds between all the parties involved.
We look forward to continuing to nurture and strengthen the art scene in Zambia by providing a platform for creative people to develop and present their work.
Keep your eyes peeled for follow up projects and a possible Rackless Kazi sequel!
The US American Bluegrass Band The Crow and the Canyon visited Modzi Arts for an exchange programme with Zambian musicians. A two days workshop was held at Modzi Arts and was followed by a public concert at EastPark mall.
On the 3rd and 4th of April 2018, Modzi Arts hosted the US American Bluegrass band The Crow and the Canyon, for a 2-part workshop and music exchange collaboration in Lusaka. This event brought together 13 young Zambian musicians form different musical backgrounds.
The first workshop on 3rd April 2018 adressed Traditional Music in the Modern World. While Theresa Ng’ambi and James Sakala gave our guests an understanding of traditional Zambian folk songs, The Crow and the Canyon gave an introduction to Bluegrass and its instruments. The genres were explored with historical references and meanings as well as with musical demonstrations of technique and style. Like this many similarities between Kalindula and Bluegrass were found.
The second workshop on 4th April 2018 focused on The Business of Folk Music followed by a Jam Session. The Crow and the Canyon offered various strategies on marketing folk music online and using social media to promote music. Differences between Zambia and America were worked out and options of overcoming the same were discussed. Afterwards the musicians played music together and worked on two collaborative songs.
On 6th April 2018 the participants performed at East Park Mall for the public event Music for Wildlife. All participants of the workshop performed and John Chiti joined as a special guest. Between slots advocates of NGOs spoke to create awareness for their work. During the concert they had stands next to the stage to inform pedestrians. The following conservation NGOs took part in the event: It’s Wild, Birdwatch Zambia, Conservation Lower Zambezi and Wildlife Crime Prevention. In addition to John Chiti’s performance Albino Foundation of Zambia had a stand, too.
This event was funded by the US Embassy Lusaka.