HAVING a moving picture screen as backdrop to the stage for the Night of Beijing performances on Thursday evening was quite fitting.
It meant changing from one act to another, was made much quicker at the National Museum and House of Culture’s theatre in Dar es Salaam’s City Centre. This act provided more time for the 76 visiting Chinese performing artists, together with the thirty-plus of their local counterparts, to present their art.
Pleased to say, from the kind of response these artists received from the full-to-capacity house, every minute of the performances were enjoyed to the limit.
Well it can safely be said by the ‘Daily News on Saturday’ and that is from a first-hand witnessing, the Performing Arts (PA) extravaganza, which was held to celebrate the Chinese New Year here, went a long way towards strengthening the friendship between the two countries.
One could have thought that all of the performers had been rehearsing together for years, given the high level of cooperation there was between them. When the award-winning pianist of the Beijing Management Corp, Wu Muye, wanted a piano for his performance, it just provided an opportunity for local Musical Director of the Dar Choral Society and Orchestra (DCSO), Hekima Raymond, to bring one grand piano to the visitor’s pleasure.
It was in the same spirit of this cooperation that Raymond was heard by the ‘Daily News on Saturday’ asking Muye how he found the piano, soon after the former had climb on stage after the performances. Before the actual performances had started, it was possible to hear a little more from the visiting pianist.
This was before learning where the piano he was going to use had come from. The 31-year-old, who speaks fluent French, mentioned how he tries to spend as much time as possible practising, while commuting from his twin bases in Paris and Beijing.
He talked about liking the emotional side of the piano, which he calls the ‘wonderful instrument’ to which he has dedicated himself. He referred to playing the ‘classical piano’ whether it be Western or Chinese music.
“Today, maybe I play one piece for Tanzania,” he said as if revealing a secret before its time. Playing music, he says makes him happy and he likes spreading this joy he gets to others. It makes no difference to him neither, whether he is playing solo or with other people, the joy is always a reality for him.
There are times he plays with a small chamber group and others when he plays with a full-fledged orchestra. This weekend he is scheduled to be playing with the symphony orchestra in Hamburg-Germany. Muye is pleased to be here for his first time, bearing in mind the long-lasting relationship there has been between the two countries.
His advice to any youngster who wants to take-up the piano or any other musical instrument, is that they must first love the life if provides, which requires a lot of physical dedication given to it. As said above the ‘Daily News on Saturday’ got the opportunity to talk with Muye before the performances had started.
However, it was after the last act had presented their art that the chance was taken to talk with Raymond. He was waiting for the opportunity to talk with Muye, when the dignitaries had left the stage, having gone up to congratulate the performers, after the performances.
“I think it was a wonderful performance, which was well organised, especially given that it is more than 70 people and the need to cater for various forms of the Performing Arts (PA), which was very nice. For me, the best lesson was the unity and how everyone was coordinated.
If this is propagated through other sectors, it’s a very successful mission,” Raymond said. It was not surprising to hear him single-out the pianist (Muye) as the act that stands out in his mind the most. He referred to the visitor as being ‘just amazing’ and called his arrangement of his second and last song, which was a rendition of ‘Tanzania, Tanzania’, as being ‘just nice’.
Raymond also praised the Rungwe District in Mbeya Region ‘Lufingo Dance Team’, for the ‘amazing performance’ they gave. The bass drummer, he said, was ‘just astonishing’.
In relations to bringing on 11 acts to the stage in the space of two hours, Raymond praised the artists and organisers for having a lot of discipline, which resulted in a very organised and highly coordinated event. He was comparing this to other events he had seen, which lacked such qualities.
During a visit to the museum, the previous evening, which was used for rehearsals by the performers, the ‘Daily News on Saturday’ was fortunate to get a few words on this local troupe’s leader, Kamyanda Fisinge.
He said the 25 men in the group were all from Tukuyu District of Rungwe Region and had arrived here, as did the Chinese visitors, on Tuesday. “We came with our drums to play and dance as part of the festivities. We are prepared to continue for as long as given the chance to,”Fisinge proudly said.
It is pleasing to say that all three sections of the group, which put on a performance full of vitality and power, over a strong rhythmic beat, brought the audience through a number of village scenes depicting sowing, harvesting and hunting.
These he said are designed to express their good wishes of prosperity, deliverance from disaster and provide them with good harvests. As said before, there were 11 acts on the stage that evening.
The others brought various dances, Martial Arts, Acrobatics, Ballet and Hand-to-hand Balancing to the stage. These were performed by members of the Beijing Dance and Opera Company, the Dragon Style Kungfu Performance Troupe and the China National Acrobatic Troupe.
There was also a Pipa (four stringed traditional Chinese instrument) solo performance by the worldrenowned Zhang Hongyan, from the Chinese Central Conservatory of Music and a rendition of Malaika by Shen Yali, from the China National Song and Dance Troupe, accompanied by local boy Ramadhani.
That wasn’t all neither, for one of the best known Chinese folk songs, ‘Jasmine Flower’ was performed by the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM)’s Choir.
To say all there is to be said now is not possible, therefore, there will have to be another chance to at least talk a little more about Hongyan and her pipa and how comes someone from China, Yali, could be singing ‘Malaika’ with such conviction.