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Singing with future mega stars at Russian Centre

Singing with future mega stars at Russian Centre

THE world has become so chaotic that families rarely find time to have recreational activities together.

The new lifestyle where both parents are at work trying to help each other provide the best they can for their children, has put a strain on parent-child relationship. There is more income to spend on the children, but less time to engage effectively with them.

The Russian-Tanzania Cultural Centre (RTCC) was able to break this custom at least for a day, where children and parents had a fun day out.

Through an annual Children’s Song Festival known as Chiriku which took place recently at the RTCC hall in Dar es Salaam; children were able to be themselves, make new friends and showcase their talents to a very huge crowd of proud parents.

Chiriku song festival is a competition mainly for children and there they get to sing Russian children songs in Russian and at the end, they are introduced to the language as well as they are let to learn valuable lessons found in the songs.

The delighted parents and teachers witnessed a group of gifted, fearless, pure free souls performing their hearts out while having lots of fun.

Though it was hard to make the children sit quietly as they eagerly waited for their chance to sing songs in a language most of them did not know well, the spirited children cheered on as others performed, and some toddlers could not resist the urge of jumping up and down as they danced to the wonderful rhythms of the songs.

Some anxiously waited for their turns in these beautiful costumes and could constantly be heard asking their teachers if their turn was up next as each performance ended, with teachers patiently answering not yet but very soon.

Listening to the songs sung by such spirited children passionately, it was hard not to clap along, and even groove with the melodies as they made the songs lively.

The hall was filled with phones lifted high enough not to disturb the person behind, but enough to record and take pictures as parents tried to capture happy moments that will forever last in their children’s hearts.

Speaking to one of the children from the group that won the grand price called Buratino, and performing a song dubbed the same name, Mr Ali Musab excitedly said that the programme was the best.

“The programme was good; I was very happy. The song we did looks like Pinocchio, but the other name is Buratino,” he said excitedly as he rushed off to celebrate his victory with his teachers and parents.

On the other hand, another performer and among the winners of the festival Ms Juliana Michael, taking Theatre Arts from the University of Dar es Salaam expressed how delighted they were to be parts of the Chiriku festival. She explained that they joined the RTCC as a student group that was doing their practical training, and part of their task was to learn children’s Russian songs and compete in the festival.

“In the beginning the pronunciation of the Russian language was such a challenge for us, however our teacher was patient and taught us wholeheartedly.

It reached a point we almost quit, but we were happy we got to perform,” said Ms Michael. She further encouraged youths who are passionate and desire to be part of the industry not to hesitate to study arts just because of the vast perception that the country has on the subject or the people who work in the industry.

“Most people take arts as something not serious and those studying it are hooligans, but this is not the case. It is something that is respected and creates good earnings.

As of recent the country has strived to put the respect back to the subject of arts in universities as it is found in the University of Dar es Salaam, University of Dodoma, and most especially at the arts college of Bagamoyo Tasuba,” she noted saying that arts is now appreciated.

Ms Michael elaborated that, once they study arts because of their passion and they enjoy it, such students will never regret studying arts. When it comes to career, she said that it all comes to hard work if you consider the current situation.

“My perception at present is that you have to work hard in any field you have chosen. Studying is just to have the proof that you are educated, but she put more focus on how to become self-employed.

Studying and getting all these certificates is just an assurance to people that you carry in your hands, but when you speak of employment it is up to a person to be creative and imaginative enough to come up with something to do that will create earnings.”

Commenting on the festival and the importance of such a programme to the children, Mr Ruben Gondwe, a music teacher from Feza International School, commended what RTCC is doing especially encouraging children to be confident.

He congratulated Buratino the group from his school that won the grand price noting that the group was formed by children from different grades, ranging from the age of four to twelve, saying, “I am so proud of their performance, they worked hard to learn the songs and choreography.”

Mr Gondwe noted that it’s challenging to teach music to children as one must become a child to do so, but also the miracle expectations of parents expecting their children to be perfect after just one class.

He also pointed out that what is needed when learning music is practice, something which most children lack when they get back home. “Music is all about practice and less theory.” He further noted the importance of children in learning music saying that it boosts their confidence and brain, as well as refreshment after a long day in class.

The Director of RTCC Ms Maria Pateev said that this is the fourth time the Chiriku annual festival takes place. She pointed out that many of the children who performed at the festival do not know the Russian language; they are given the meaning of the songs. “They heard the songs, saw the cartoons and it was evident how all children were excited to be part of the festival.

All of the children’s songs are used to nurture them,” she said. Further explaining that most schools introduce the language as part of the lessons taught in their schools after they participate in the Chiriku festival; this helps the centre to attain one of their goals of spreading the language. She explained that the largest part of Russian culture is the children’s songs.

“Children’s songs are very important and take a large part in our culture; I think there is not any other country with as many children songs as Russia does. Generations are taught by using such songs; children’s lives must be filled with happiness and joy, and this is what the songs are doing as they impart knowledge and discipline in them.” Music and such festivals bring children together as they learn to be friendly and get along with other people; as well as build their confidence.

“Through such activities children get to feel like artists and that they matter, something that is very important in their growth. All the children who participated were winners as it takes courage to stand up In front of a crowd,” she said.

Ms Pateev quoted the last song all the children sang together which said, “Being together is happiness and joy, and singing together is better than singing alone.”

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Author: MARY RAMADHAN

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