Upcoming dancer Nyaradzai Zvemisha has encouraged fellow traditional artistes to formalise their operations in order to grow the trade. The traditional dancer who is enrolled at the College of Music in Harare said it was not enough to base careers on inborn talents. "Traditional music is a profession like any other but artistes are not realising their full potential. One needs to have an in-depth knowledge of the traditional dance, music, instruments and practices but that is not the case in the local music industry.
"There is therefore the need to professionalise it if there are any hopes of developing it," she said.
The 22-year-old admitted to having herself started performing without bothering to gain deeper knowledge of the arts. She said she was making inroads into the industry, having performed a number of times in Sweden amongst other traditional festivals in Zimbabwe.
"Art is an inborn thing. I have been singing, dancing and performing from a young age. It was only later that I have realised that there was need to learn in order to perfect the art. While I perform on the side I take the music studies seriously. I'm gaining an in-depth understanding of what I'm doing in my career," she said.
Zvemisha said there were many concepts that needed to be explored about traditional art. She said artistes needed to be knowledgeable about their origins, relevance and importance or else a performance becomes meaningless.
"We should not be ashamed of our culture as is the case with many young people. Instead let us demystify and celebrate it like we do in opera, jazz, contemporary and other international arts," she enthused.
She will be making her third appearance at this year's Zimbabwe music Festival Bira (Zimfebi) that will take place next month. While playing the role of a backing vocalist and dancer for the Zimbabwe Traditional Unity Band she will also showcase her mbira playing skills.
"I am also learning about composing songs. I work with a number of professionals and hopefully when I complete my Master's degree in music, I will be able to impart my skills and promote Zim traditional music," she said.