Feb 232011
Authors: Sarah Banes

Intense rhythmic drumming filled the Lory Student Center Commons Wednesday afternoon as a piece of Africa was delivered to CSU students through music and culture.

The music was provided by the Zimbabwean group Kudzidza that came from Denver to share its traditions with a large crowd of CSU students.

“I thought it was a great way to unite with the culture and connect with identity,” said Jamal Bowen, an executive member of the United Men of Color.

UMC and the Association for Student Activity Programming co-organized the event.

“The United Men of Color are happy to be here. We are representing the unrepresented. We’re doing big things,” UMC President Garrett Hayes said.

The Kudzidza Organization works to establish and create a bridge of mutual education between Zimbabwe and the U.S. by collecting and sending school supplies to schools in Zimbabwe.

One of the performers played the marimba, sparking enthusiasm and clapping from the crowd.
Bongo, one of Kudzidza’s musicians, grew up in Zimbabwe and carved three of the drums himself out of mutsviri wood.

“Nobody teaches us how to play the drums. We all grew up in villages playing in ceremonies since we were very young” Bongo said.

The four performers were dressed vibrantly in traditional African clothing, and three of the drummers are from villages in Zimbabwe, with the fourth being a native of Sudan.

Bongo accompanied each song with lyrics in Shona and Ndebele, two separate Zimbabwean dialects.
He tried to encourage audience participation during “Mudzimu,” a Zimbabwe song meaning, “spirit come back to me.”

The students were reluctant to participate at first but, after a few minutes, joined in with the music. By the last song a few even got up to dance.

“It was very interesting to be exposed to a different kind of culture. I enjoyed it,” said Callie Leigh Fort, a sophomore business finance major.

“When we play African music, everyone comes together. We’re like a family. In a village, we all do it together,” Bongo said.

_Staff writer Sarah Banes can be reached at news@collegian.com. _

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