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Zimbabwe: When indigenous beats becomes hard to resist
News / Latest / Ernest Kanjo
Sunday, 02 May 2010 20:33

MBIRA_PHOTOIf you cherish quiet moments, go to Dzimbanhete. It is a small village situated 25km away from Zimbabwe's capital Harare along the road to Bulawayo. Here, lies a place - Dzimbanhete Arts Interactions. It is a resource centre and meeting point for the country's young and talented artists.

On a late morning visit to this beautiful site, expect to have a good feel of nature's sweet gifts to mankind and a prompt appreciation of art in all its facets. The only good thing, perhaps, that will perturb your knack for a quiet environment, is the sound of the mbira, a Zimbabwean tradition musical instrument. You would however not regret listening to it, for, mbira's melody makes sense to the ear.

Such entertaining traditional sound, accompanied by male voices, percussion beats, clappers (makwa) and fascinating choreography is what Mbira Dzenharo, a Dzimbanhete traditional music band offers. With Edmond Chikanya at the mbira bass, Spencer Chiyangwa and Byron Chikanya at the mbira rhythm, Saiti Maposa at the drums, the band dishes out numerous dance-provoking pieces. ''We have 16 songs compiled in two albums,'' Mbira Dzeharo group manager, Brighton Munemo revealed.

Songs in these albums have been performed throughout Zimbabwe during small events. Mbira Dzenharo performances have always moved potential sponsors to make promises which have unfortunately not be fulfilled. ''We would have taken this group further if people and corporate organisations chipped in their supported,'' Chikanya regretted. Were it not for the Zimbabwe Music Comparative (ZMC) that sponsored studio recording, the groups scintillating pieces would have remained remote. ''We now have our songs on CDs and can widely circulate them if the means are available.''

For now, Mbira Dzenharo is contented with thrilling guests to the Dzimbanhete Arts Interactions and interacting with them, hoping that their little might would some day be a giant contribution to traditional African dance and music. And long after you have driven out of Dzimbanhete, the sounds of mbira stays on your mind.  


CRTV is 25 Any silver lining?
News / Latest / Ernest Kanjo
Tuesday, 13 April 2010 21:32
crtv_immeuble-x495Adult Cameroonians and those who by 1985 could boast of a sense of taste were gripped by a nolstalgic fit during the 25th anniversary celebration of the Cameroon Radio and Televison Corporation, CRTV recently. Good old-time memories of how the television magic hit Cameroon two and the half decades ago were once more regurgitated. It sufficed for some pioneer images, broadcast in the 1980s and 90s to be brought back on the airwaves for a huge segment of the Cameroonian population to run into a fit.

For one week during the Silver Jubilee celebration, CRTV televiewers were treated to old, but famous shows such as Elvis Kemayou's Tele Podium, Foly Dirane's Dance Cameroon Dance, Marie Rose Nzie's Coco Rosi, Akwanka Joe Ndifor's (of blessed memory) Minute by Minute, Diedonne Tine Pigui's Regard sur le Monde, etc. Perhaps, the highlight of the 25th anniversary was the bilingual news anchored by pioneers, Eric Chinje and Denise Epote, just like they did in the old good days of CTV.

Throughout the week, as CRTV aired those shows, tears flew. Many remembered the early days of television with mixed feelings - joy, sadness. Joy because they were once more treated to programmes that were pregnant with meaning. Programmes that touched community life. Programmes that held viewers spellbound. Such shows might not have been produced using the most modern technical means as is the case today, but they attracted a wide audience. Televiewers failed every where else but not to catch up with their prime time shows. They watch these shows religiously and made their presenters iconic figures. The grip of the television magic was too strong to resist. That is how people felt again during the 25th anniversary week in Cameroon. Some observers argue that the euphoria was thanks to the fact that TV was just making its debut in Cameroon. But the truth is that the programmes as well as their hosts were good enough. Eric Chinje, Charles Ndongo, Denise Epote, Julius Wamey, Ben berka Njovens (of blessed memory), Yolande Ambiana, Rose Epie, Pamela Messi, Michel Ngoumou, etc had no predecessors to learn from. They were pioneering, yet performed so well. That experience still remains a mystery.

However, there was a certain degree of disappointment as TV lovers joined the national broadcaster in celebrating its Silver Jubilee. Where has that flare, savoured in the 1980s and 90s gone to? What had become of the State-run television that had caused it to lose audience to such a huge extent? Such questions filled the aired during the Silver week. CRTV's pioneer General Manager, Florent Eli Etoga was quoted by a French private daily as saying he felt sick when he looked at CRTV today - "Quand je regards la CRTV aujourd'hui, je me sente mal," Le Jour wrote in its cover story.

The "National Television" as it is affectionately called by its staff as a way of managing the stiff competition of other channels, has dwindled along the years. Not only the coming of more vibrant privately owned TV channels have exposed CRTV's weaknesses, but the apparent short supply of creativity has put the giant broadcaster on the red. The elitist nature of CRTV's programmes soon estranged its audience who would later find solace in more community-based and socially rewarding shows offered by other stations. Its institutional news approach soon became too unpallatable to the lay viewer who now sees more meaning in watching human interest stories. Then, with the coming of pidgin broadcasters and their "infotainment" concept (though pioneered by CRTV Mount Cameroon FM's Kolle George), the national broadcaster has gone limping. The masses had gone and found pleasure elsewhere. Even at the sumptuous gala to crown CRTV's Silver week, guest comedians did not fail to point this out. "Remplir l'antenne avec les belles emissions," Kegege begged, meaning that the airwaves should filled with good programmes.

Fortunately, the twist in the landscape has been glaring and officials of the State-run television are conscious the tides are high. That is why efforts are being made to win back its audience. The recent move to now feature more of local fiction productions could be one of the ways in reviving the old dream. Happy 25 CRTV!

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 April 2010 08:48
News / Latest / TTS
Thursday, 01 April 2010 03:23

Last Updated on Sunday, 01 April 2012 03:25
Classy Night for Collywooders
News / Latest / Ernest Kanjo
Tuesday, 16 March 2010 09:24

Filmmakers in Cameroon will hardly forget Saturday 13 March 2010. It was one of the days they came together to celebrate their achievements. To say it was classic is an understatement. Collywood Class, as the event was christened was more than that. From far and near, they converged on Yaounde and showcased what they had been doing all these years.

At the white party guests were entertained with a projection of exciting Cameroonian film trailers that caught the attention of everyone. Some of the movies whose trailers were projected at the party included Asaba Ferdinand's Mark of the Absolute, Agbor Steve's Clash of Inheritance, Fred Fondo's Another Chance, Musing Derick's Cluster, Chi Anthony's Crazy Enterprise and Ancestral Wrath, etc. A slide, paying tribute to some devoted filmmakers and actors also featured on the programmed.

Then came the remarks. Representing the Minister of Culture, the Director of Cinematography, Wang Johnson expressed the positive feelings, not only about the organization of the classy night but about the strides filmmakers in Cameroon had had so far. Wang was of the opinion that there was light at the end of the tunnel and did not fail to encourage filmmakers to push forward with their dreams. "The Ministry is ready to provide its support. All you need to do is to convince us your projects are genuine," he explained.

To CRTV's Director of Production, Robert Ekukole, the state television has now fully accepted to give a chance to Cameroonian movies. "Be  rest assured that if the technical and artistic quality of your work is acceptable, CRTV will line it up for screening," he promised. "We have many movies lying on our table. We are studying them and believe me, good ones will be selected for screening," he went on. Ekukole urged filmmakers to pay much attention to quality work. "What you guys are doing gives me the impression you're ready to build this industry. Do not relent in your efforts in trying to do that," he said.

In response to that and friendly remarks from other guests to Collywood Class, Waa Musi expressed the industry's gratefulness for all the support from stakeholders. The CFI National Coordinator was particularly thankful to the Minister of Culture, Ama Tutu Muna for her role in the development and promotion of the seventh art. "She has not only worked as a member of Government, but has cared for us like a mother. She has of course been our mother and if we have gone this far, it is largely thanks to her," said Waa of Ama Tutu Muna.

Popular country music artiste, Richard Kings cum actor thrilled guest with soul-searching pieces including the famous Salamando. H e was accompanied on the podium by rising singer and Collywood anthem creator Dogstar and talented youngster, Mobstar. Their various interventions held Collywood Class invitees spellbound

Perhaps the surprise for the day was the recognition of some people whom project CEO, Chiatoh Collins and project organiser, Elvis Tanwie said had contributed remarkably to the growth of the industry. They were awarded and enjoined to work harder for the sake of the art and the industry. They included,

Up-rising actress - Abia Maureen

Up-rising female film director - Josephine Mankfuh

Daring actress - Ebot Vera

Daring film producer - Musing Derick

Upholding tradition - Agbor Steve

Sound quality - Hard Decision by Molimi Cletus

Daring female producer - Ayi Chatou Inoua

Outstanding leadership - Ngangum Mathew

Promotion of culture - Ernest Kanjo

For one thing, guests to the white party went home satisfied that they had been thrilled by the MCs for the day, Kome Epule Jeff and Ngong Mirabel Nange. "They were simply fantastic," said one of them.

Last Updated on Friday, 26 March 2010 01:27
Jim Iyke, Zack Orji in Cameroonian Movie
News / Latest / Ernest Kanjo
Thursday, 05 March 2009 13:39

Another Cameroon-Nigeria co-production is at the corner. A movie, whose title is yet to be chosen will be served lovers of home video in Cameroon and beyond in the coming months. The movie, starring Nollywood's Jim Iyke and Zack Orji and Yimbu Emmanuel and Quinta Eyong of Collywood will be shot this month in Bafut, Mezam Division of the North West Region.

According to the producer, Agbor Gilbert, the movie will unfold an exciting Bafut folkloric tale which will surely attract the attention of viewers. "That is why we have chosen the Bafut Palace as the main location," he told Tiptopstars.

Agbor has been in Bafut since last week, negotiating the location with Fon Abumbi II. The traditional ruler, according to the renowned film producer, is quite pleased with the project which will go a long way to market the cultural and tourist potentials of his fondom.

Several other rising actors and actresses have expressed desire to feature in the movie. But to Agbor, they must go through an auditioning, billed for 12 March in Bafut.

The movie comes after two others by the same producer; Before the Sunrise in 2005 and The Blues Kingdom in 2007.

Agbor Gilbert who is gradually making headway into the international scene is famous for nourishing the now healthy partnership between the Cameroonian and Nigerian film industries. He has also posed as a great link between Cameroon and Africa Magic, the famous South Africa-based Pan-African entertainment channel. This has fetched him several awards, including a recent one from the Cameroon Film Industry (CFI).

Last Updated on Friday, 06 March 2009 10:09
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