Music enthusiasts bask in the Chikuni fest

PART of the crowd at the Tonga Music Festival. PICTURE: NDANGWA MWITTAH

IN TERMS of numbers in attendance, you have to be impressed with the Tonga Music Festival, which for several years has continued to attract thousands of spectators whose only interest is music, particularly Tonga traditional music.

It was the same case at last week’s two-day event that started on Friday and ended on Saturday.
The concert that was held under the theme “Masuwa Aswangeene, Tapwayi Cibiya” loosely translated as “stones that are in unity do not break the clay pot” had members of the audience travelling as far as the Copperbelt.
A total of 165 participants battled it out for prizes in the various categories.
That is some phenomenal growth that the festival has experienced since it was first held in 2000.
In a bid to promote the Tonga culture, the festival has broadened to include all sorts of traditional Tonga music and poetry. The use of traditional instruments is also a form of educating the young ones who are used to western musical instruments.
Some of the traditional instruments that are showcased can be intriguing to first timers at the festival.
But over the years, some names have grown in recognition.
The likes of Mashombe Blue Jeans, Tusole Band and Green Mamba all need little if any introduction at all at the festival.
At this year’s festival, Mashombe Blue Jeans and Tusole Band entertained the crowds on Friday whereas entertainment on Saturday was largely left to the Green Mamba Band and Mwiza Power Band.
There were also some periodical dances from the Mukanzubo Warriors. Or, and there were some white Jesuit professors from the University of Seattle in the United States in attendance at the festival.
With Brian Shakarongo not in attendance, the task of judging was left to Kezia Munzanje (chief adjudicator), Sr Euphemia Mainza, Bernard Maambo, Given Muzembo and Raphael Moonga.
In the chigome category, Davison Chizyuka came first with a score of 369, beating Namalizyi Band and Sahara Abantu Bakwe who scored 350 and 327 respectively.
Sikamunika Band took the first prize in the bukonkoolo category with a score of 346, five better than Choobe Women who scored 341 and Tuyandane Band that came out third with 334. In the kalumbu category, it was Enock Mbongwe who won with 318 points while Bathromew Muleya came second with 293 and Armashod Ngwaama in third with 277 points.
Bina Lilly edged Rosi Kalinda and Florence Himpyali in the Kutwa category while in the kalindula category it was Munjile Band that triumphed with 387 points over Nyanga Band and Mwiza Power Band who pulled 378 and 372 points in that order.
Other winners were Ngoma Ya Mwami Ufwenuka (masabe), Junior Hampoongo (ndikiti), Michael Chibesa (twist), Kennedy Mazila (kanaambile), Samson Mweemba (kankobela), Valerio Sichunga (kusuka nsuwa), Mary Hakachowa (kuziya), Matridah Twaambo (muzembo), Mangoma Kulila (mantyaantya), Soloni Nangulu (chilimba) and Lasessa Culture (chikaabe-kaambe).
The rest were Ban a Haampongo (kalyaba), Kalitume Band (kukambilwa), Savity Tumbachaanji (ma guitor), Tubuke Band (kweema) and Oscar Mazila (lemba).

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