Emmanuel Hove Mhike
The institution of indigenous musical instruments construction should be fully supported to capacitate and accommodate more instrument makers, this publication can reveal.
In an interview with this reporter Almon Moyo, one of the few indigenous instruments constructors in the country, pinpointed that there is lack of grassroots Arts development funding. This according to him is a major stumbling block. He also bemoaned lack of exposure and support, for both financial and technical assistance in the indigenous musical trade.
“We are lacking capital and training workshops that introduces the concepts of combining indigenous and modern ways of musical instruments construction. Currently, instrument constructors in Zimbabwe are not moving with the changing times and technology,” said Moyo.
In the Midlands province, Moyo is one of the few people blessed with this rare talent of making indigenous musical instruments. He is highly revered by close friends and relatives. One of his admirers is Dr Tinashe Mutero who believe Moyo is one of the best instrument constructors in Africa.
“Moyo is one of the best mbira and marimba makers I have met. I think what sets him apart from his peers is his attention to detail and sound musical knowledge. My hope is that his institution grows to accommodate more instrument makers. Otherwise, we might be losing out on a rare talent,” said Dr Mutero.
Fast rising Gweru born and bred musician Samukoko also expressed heartfelt gratitude to Moyo whom he described as the kindest and generous instrument constructor.
“Almon is so innovative. He always strive for uniqueness and sound perfection. Over the years since his graduation from Midlands State University, we have witnessed different innovative kinds of Mbira and Marimba from him. I’m the first beneficiary of his latest mbira innovation. He gave it to me for free, I’m really grateful,” he said.
Moyo has been distributing his Mbira and Marimba instruments in schools around Midlands and beyond. Mandy Chiruka a music teacher at Utongani Primary school in Zvishavane, one of the schools that bought Moyo’s instruments applauded his personality and prowess as an indigenous musical instruments constructor.
“Almon Moyo designs instruments according to the taste and age of users. He did a wonderful job to our school and he has an amazing personality. He did follow ups to find out how our kids are copying with the new instruments. I requested mine and he did one for me, a personal mbira instrument I use at home,” she said.
Almon Moyo is a holder of a BSC Honors Degree in Music and Musicology from Midlands State University. He acquired Marimba and Mbira making skills while doing his internship at Kwanengoma college of music in Bulawayo. His current Instruments manufacturing Workshop is located near the Gweru railway station.