The 2016 edition of the Tonga Music Concert starts today, September 23 and will run upto tomorrow evening.
The annual prestigious music showpiece takes place at Chikuni mission, South East of Monze town in Southern province. It is organised by Chikuni Community Radio Station.
Over 50 musical groups from the province are expected to participate in this year’s event which is also broadcast live by Chikuni Community Radio station, a Catholic sponsored Community Radio station.
A check at the venue on Thursday by Zambian Eye found that all was set for the event starting this morning.
It is the biggest Music concert in Zambia attended by over 10, 000 people.
The station’s vision is to enable the community of Chikuni to be fully developed in all aspects of human life.
For many years, 12 competition categories of traditional music have been performed. But over the years more traditional and almost extinct music styles are being revived and performed thanks to the value the people have placed on the festival. Participants register beforehand and their songs must be original, never having been published or recorded before.
Musicians come to perform to the crowds and are also trained on the cultural and musical values of the Tonga as well as their general lifestyle. This has led to improved performances and deliveries from the participating groups. The Sakala Brothers and Mukanzubo Kalinda Research Institute have helped in the training and have raised the standards of the festival as a result.
Groups like Mashombe Blue Jeans, Green Mamba and Gonde Cultural Group no longer compete but provide entertainment to the concert goers during the two day event while local businesses benefit from keeping everyone fed and watered!
Meanwhile Gonde Cultural Group leader Nsabata has called on organisers to engage the business community to help in the sponsoring of the event.
Nsabata told Zambian Eye in an interview that his band appreciate the role Chikuni Radio was playing to promote local music but said it should bring in other people if the evnt is to grow. He said he was invited as a Guest Artist but was unable to attend the event this year because the organisers could not facilitate his transportation to Chikuni.
“They invited my but I asked them to organise transport but they said I should find my way and that they will only provide us food. Now where do I get money to transport 12 people from here (Kaleya – Mazabuka), its expensive. I can’t manage so I won’t go,” Nsabata explained to Zambian Eye on Thursday.