Life & Arts

Gweru musicians slam promoters for ignoring local artistes

MUSICIANS in the Midlands Province want the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (Nacz) to intervene and ‘force’ music promoters mainly from Harare and Bulawayo to incorporate local artistes whenever they hold shows in the province.

The musicians, who made the plea at a Zimbabwe Music Rights Association (Zimura) all-stakeholders workshop held at Gweru Theatre yesterday, said there was an increasing number of concerts being held in the Midlands which are “totally ignoring local artistes.”

“It is very painful to have promoters coming to Gweru with popular musicians mainly from Harare and hold concerts without roping in musicians from Gweru and surrounding areas. 

“I know that it is not illegal for promoters to ignore local artistes but the truth of the matter is that this is morally wrong. 

“Promoters should always include artistes from the province as this will go a long way in uplifting local talent,” Gweru artiste Vasiya Mashora said amid a chorus of applause from fellow artistes.

In response, Nacz Midlands official Thelma Bamala said there was no law that forces promoters to  incorporate local artistes whenever they hold concerts.

“In Zimbabwe we do not have a law that restricts promoters to work with local artists. Promoters are allowed to engage any artist of his or her choice from any place in Zimbabwe. 

“As Nacz, we can only negotiate or implore the registered promoter to consider local talent. We can only rely on moral suasion,” Bamala said.

The Gweru workshop was attended by some of the country’s big names in the music industry including Mai Patai, Jah Bless and Man Souljah.

Other Zimura stakeholders who attended the event included the Zimbabwe Republic Police, National Prosecution Authority and Gweru City Council to name just but a few.

 As part of its 40th anniversary celebrations, Zimura is holding countrywide workshops. Apart from Gweru, the music rights body has already been to Masvingo, with Bulawayo set to be the next stop.

 Zimura is an association of composers and publishers of music, with a mandate to protect the rights of musicians under the copyright law through the collection and distribution of royalties.

 Last year alone, the Association distributed $25, 7 million to its members, with the highest paid musician getting nearly $500 000. As part of the celebrations, Zimura recently scrapped off registration fees to new members as part of efforts to create a bigger opportunity for artists.

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