In this exclusive and inspiring interview with Zimbabwean acoustic guitarist, Tariro neGitare, she shares with The Penvoice Blog on her journey so far in music and motherhood…Excerpts
Q: When and why did you start playing the guitar?
A: I started playing the guitar when I was 13 years old. I had just started high school and an opportunity presented itself when Sr. Elizabeth Wedeking invited about 8 of us to join the guitar choir. Since we had a guitar at home, I gladly volunteered.
Q: Which instrument do you play?
A: I play the acoustic guitar.
Q: What type of music do you play? Why such choice?
A: I play a fusion of everything I grew up listening to. I play an indigenous mix of African sounds and contemporary urban styles with a strong afro-soul feel.
Q: What were your experiences as a child guitarist?
A: It was fun. I had no expectations, no pressure and simply did it for the love and fun of it. As a result, I managed to get the best from it because I was under no pressure to please anyone or to impress anyone but simply for the fun of it. I also had a lot of great mentorship from my brother who also played.
Q: How were you able to overcome the challenges?
A: I could not even say that there were serious challenges as I did not even know what I was walking into. I simply took it one day at a time and dealt with each ‘challenge’ as it presented itself.
Q: How has the music journey been for Tariro neGitare since she started?
A: It has been an adventure and continues to be. I have met so many people from different walks of life and it has expanded the way I view the world. You never know what to expect. Your gift will always make room for you and when you follow your passion, the doors will open in ways you never imagined.
Q: As a mother, how do you jostle your music career and motherhood?
A: I wouldn’t use the word ‘jostle’; it’s more of a balance. Like I said earlier, when you are moving in purpose, everything seems to line up on its own. My career allows me to manage my own time so I plan accordingly and make time for everything that is a priority, my family being first.
Q: What else do you do apart from the music?
A: I run an organisation called Magitare Africa Trust which is an organisation that fosters global understanding through the arts. We focus on the development of communities through the arts.
Q: So many young African girls desire to attain the level you are, what can you say?
A: I can say anything is attainable as long as you put your mind and heart into it. Seek purpose, follow your dreams and when you put the Creator above all things, you can do all things through Him who strengthens you. Gender is not a stumbling block; you are the only barrier to your dreams, not your situation, your family or anything you may want to blame.
Q: What can you say about the music industry in Zimbabwe compared to Nigeria or other parts of Africa?
A: The Zimbabwean music industry is small but growing very fast. It is in an exciting season as the country is going through a new dispensation and the same can be said about the music industry as well. We have a lot to learn from our African counterparts especially Nigeria. We have a relatively smaller population and therefore, collaborations are keys to break into different markets as well as to expand our knowledge and expertise.
A: These social ills are very disheartening and as a mother, my heart bleeds for anyone to have to go through such. Appropriate measures should be taken to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to book. At the same time, the crux of the matter should be looked into. Poverty should be addressed in our African Countries so that these byproducts of it can be eliminated. Speaking out against them should be encouraged.
Q: Any word of advice for young African girls/women?
A: Dream big and live everyday with the aim of fulfilling your dreams. Work hard, nothing comes easy. The amount of time you invest in your craft will always pay off. Be open to change but do not let go of your values. Nothing can stop you but yourself!
Q: How do you unwind?
A: I read a lot! I am also a biker and love long rides on the bike!