IFA is excited to announce that we have partnered with Ottawa's RBC Bluesfest to bring their popular Be In The Band program to Lusaka, Zambia.
Be In The Band gives young musicians an opportunity to rehearse and perform together under the tutelage of local professional musicians utilising traditional pop instruments like electric guitars and basses, drums, keyboards and vocals. Kids get practical lessons on how to put together and present a set of quality music with their peers at their side. And if that isn't enough, Ottawa's Be In The Band participants get a chance to play onstage at the RBC Bluesfest in front of a real crowd on the last day of the festival!
The Arts & Culture Council in Zambia have committed to the project by securing a rehearsal space in Lusaka and acquiring funding to hire teachers for the program. We are very encouraged at the level of support the Arts & Culture Council is putting behind this project; their dedication can only bolster the success of Be In The Band in Zambia.
With the seed of this idea in mind, we met with several musicians and teachers the last time we were in Zambia to gauge who might be interested in getting involved with this program, and we can happily report that there are several very competent and eager musicians ready to get started.
The current schedule is to launch the program in Lusaka in May, 2014.
While bands enrolled in Ottawa's Be In The Band program tend to gravitate towards styles ranging from rock & roll to heavy metal, in Zambia the kids will be playing their own local styles. Though the origins of kalindula are debated, there's no doubt that the melodic, electric style is prevalent in many parts of Zambia. There's also an electric style of music indigenous to Zambia called (what else?) Zamrock. Somewhat similar to the Jethro Tull/Jefferson Airplane era prog-rock genre Zamrock is sure to make it's way into Lusaka's Be In The band program.
No matter what they decide to play we're glad young musicians in Lusaka will have the opportunity to take part in this amazing program. Be In The Band will offer a unique experience to countless kids who have very few other creative outlets available to them. Instruments For Africa would like to thank RBC Bluesfest for their support in this initiative.
In May, 2012 Ottawa-based music teacher and guitar player Todd Snelgrove found himself near the end of his vacation in Zambia and looking to donate his travel guitar to someone who might need it. The first school that he walked into had not a single functioning musical instrument despite having 300 students enrolled in music classes. Later that year, Instruments For Africa was born.
Instruments For Africa collects musical instruments of all kinds, stands and accessories, sheet music and instructional material from people like you. Have a trumpet or clarinet you're not using? We know some kids that would love a chance to give music a try. Everything is inspected and serviced prior to shipping so don't worry if your instrument hasn't been played in a while; if it can be made playable we'll get it to Africa.*
Our first mission was to fully outfit the Linda School in Livingstone, Zambia with an orchestra of instruments. With the support of many generous Canadians we easily surpassed our goal. In addition to delivering a full bevy of gear to the Linda School we distributed over 200 instruments amongst ten other schools across Zambia and Namibia in October, 2013. We are working with Zambia's Ministry of Education and Arts & Culture Council to strengthen our ties with that country and we look forward to expanding our reach across Zambia's borders to other needy regions.
*In rare cases some instruments are sold or traded for instruments better suited to the needs of our project. In such cases we make every effort to contact the donor to discuss our intentions. Please be sure to include contact information with your donation.