Thursday, 1 May 2008

The CIIMDA initiative for Culture-sensitive arts education in Africa

Mr. Meki Nzewi told us about the CIIMDA initiative, which uses music as a recourse in helping street children in Africa. The music becomes a tool against criminality. CIIMDA use the drum as main instrument, because it is found over almost all of Africa. If someplace doesn`t have a drum, people can use their own body as one. 

Mr. Nzewi showed us a different way of looking at music: 
Music is not sound alone, 
but needs to be looked upon as a part of 
dance, drama, sound and costume. 
The music has to have an object and a meaning. 
He spoke of life and music, and how closely related these two are. Where there is life, there is music and creativity.

I find the idea of music having a philosophic base, and that one can learn ethics through music, a beautiful way of looking at the topic we are engaged in. Mr. Nzewi showed us this in practice by 
demonstrating a rather susprising warm-up-exercise: All the children engaged in CIIMDA has to
slap themselves in their faces before slaping their drum. They learn how to respect other beings
through music.

Mr. Nzewi ended his presentation with a wish to "bring back humanity in music making".  On our way out, we got a gift of two healing drum-exercises. One to fall asleep by, and one to wake
up by at the end of long conference days?

Anyway - what really waked me up was the following
concert with the Soccajasco kids who are engaged
in CIIMDA.  The children and their helpers rounded off 
our second conferance day 
by showing us their musicality and joy!

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