Musicians plead with authorities…as live concerts remain banned

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MUSICIANS and promoters are pleading with government so it opens up the music sector as they feel that they are being neglected.

This comes as the government has partially opened up low risk art genres such as theatre, poetry and film leaving the music sector reeling under the ban. Music promoters said the government is only punishing the music sector while turning a blind eye on other Covid-19 hotspots.

“I have been in Mbare on countless occasions but what I saw leaves a lot to be desired. Thousands of people including farmers cram the marketplace without face masks. “Then one would wonder why the relevant authorities only target the music industry as if it is the only Covid-19 risk sector,” Jah Prayzah’s manager Keen Mushapaidze told the Daily News on Sunday.

Mushapaidze said they understand the need to stay safe during the pandemic period but the law should not be applied selectively. “As musicians, we feel we should be treated the same way as others are being treated. We are an organised sector and we are able to host our concerts in line with Covid-19 regulations just like what other sectors are doing it,” he said.

Musician Diana ‘Mangwenya’ Samkange said the music sector has been dealt a heavy blow during the national lockdown.

“At first we thought the ban was for everyone to curb the spread of the deadly virus but now it is clear the ban is only for us, the musicians. What pains the most is that most of the sectors have been allowed to operate during the lockdown period save for the music industry.

“But honestly, how does the government expect us to live and feed our families under the ban?” Mangwenya said the musicians have suffered enough. “It will take time for the music industry to recover after the ban as some of the talented musicians are no longer focusing on the music.

“Some are into farming full time while others in the transport business. The government should try to open the music industry and then monitor the situation.”

Rhumba musician Lyn Magodo aka Lady Storm or simply Eriza concurred with Mangwenya that the music industry has suffered as a result of the ban.

“Soccer is now being played in the country; hence we plead with the government to also consider our plight as musicians.

“We are willing to enforce Covid-19 regulations on our concerts just like the theatre artists are doing.” “Music Promoters in Zimbabwe would like to plead with the government through our mother body National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (Nacz) to reconsider our arts sector.

Chairperson of Promoters in Zimbabwe Partson Chimbodza said they are the hardest hit sector considering that since February they couldn’t hold events. “We used to do events in stadiums that could attract 10 000 people. It is our hope that at least they reconsider and allow us to operate at 1/4 capacity of any venue.

“Imagine we have 90 percent of singers who are not being called for live streaming who greatly relied on live shows and they are not getting anything.” Popularly known as Chipaz, Chimbodza assured the relevant authorities
that his organisation will adhere to the Covid-19 regulations at their concerts if allowed to resume.

“We will abide by all safety regulations the same way if not better than how it’s being done at other places like  Mbare market. “At least if they could allow us to use open air joints such as stadiums and the Harare Gardens even at half capacity.”

Music promoter and night club owner Biggie Chinoperekwei said the music industry is likely to move forward after the Covid-19 vaccine has been found. “For the meantime, the best way is to resort to open air joints for concerts and ensure that fans will adhere to at least two-metres apart from each other during the concerts.”

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