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The marimba extravaganza that is felt as much as it’s heard!

The Sounds of Celebration Concert is unique, featuring deaf musicians and well-known artists

Marimba lovers can look forward to be entertained with songs such as Shosholoza and Ketty Perry’s song Roar.
Marimba lovers can look forward to be entertained with songs such as Shosholoza and Ketty Perry’s song Roar.
Image: 123rf/ flippo

Young people from different backgrounds have come together to celebrate Youth Month through the sound of the marimba. 

Known as the Sounds of Celebration Concert, the marimba extravaganza takes place over eight days starting on Sunday 26 June. Put together by Education Africa, the 9th edition features local marimba hub groups Pops Mohamed, Dave Reynolds, Ndlovu Youth Choir, Magda de Vries, Vienna Boys Choir from Austria and Queen Victoria School from Scotland.

Marimba lovers can look forward to be entertained with songs such as Shosholoza and Ketty Perry’s song Roar. Education Africa marimba specialist Joan Lithgow says  the marimba festival seeks to give young South Africans and the global community the opportunity to celebrate social cohesion through music. The event has for the past two years been taking place virtually and it has allowed organisers to feature international acts.

“We decided to do it virtually again this year because we could not take a chance of going live – not knowing if people will come or not.  Now that things are opened next year’s edition will be live.

"The virtual way opened up a new way of doing things. We have been able to have international groups to collaborate with us. Through the technology we are able to feature the Queen Victoria Dance School in Scotland.

“We are extremely excited to have our newly formed Alumni Marimba Band performing with the legendary award-winning duo, Pops Mohamed and Dave Reynolds. People can view the one-hour and 20 minutes concert through Africa Education website and buy tickets. Thanks to National Arts Council for making sure this event happens.” 

She adds: “Sounds of Celebration is a joyous event that brings together young people from all walks of life, while honouring their cultural diversity, heritage and unique musical talents. They express themselves through a range of instruments including the marimba, steel pan, penny whistle and the Scottish pipe band.”

According to Lithgow, the marimba concert has been made special by the participation of the Dominican School for the Deaf in Hammanskraal. The school band is the only deaf marimba band in the world – especially at the school level.

“As Education Africa celebrates 30 years this year, we pride ourselves for having introduced marimba hubs in communities, and primary and high schools. We have also introduced marimba in pre-schools. The deaf marimba band is really the highlight of our project.”

Rose Moloi, who teaches marimba as an instrument at the Dominican School for the Deaf in Hammanskraal, said about their participation this year: “We have participated once again in the Sounds of Celebration Concert. We have been participating since 2018 and the kids love it.

"They love marimba because when they play the music it is the only time that they don’t get to be labelled as disabled. When they perform together on stage with other non-deaf kids you cannot even differentiate as a spectator. They play the same music and play it like others. What is different for us is how the learning taking place.”

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