Sound Connects Project Overview
The Sound Connects Project brings together practitioners of various art disciplines, including, but not limited to, players of traditional instrumental music; storytellers; writers; filmmakers; digital motion graphics artists; and sound engineers to collaborate on the creation of multimedia content. The project also brings together key players in the creative economy namely: artists; the Morija Museum & Archives and its sister institution, the Morija Arts Centre; culture and education policy formulators; institutions of higher learning, researchers & academics; and the media & advertising industry.
Under the guidance of MMA, these key players are working together to compile a research paper on indigenous Basotho musical instruments; create an online resource library of folk music, as well as educational tools; formulate recommendations to be adopted by state institutions and key stakeholders mandated with enacting arts, education & culture policy; provide arts industry orientation for journalists & media houses working in the fields of art and culture; deliver music training for artists and performers, as well as music educators at the Lesotho College of Education; and produce a full-length animation film incorporating indigenous instrumental sound and storytelling.
Project Objectives, Outcomes & Deliverables
The Sound Connects Project is segmented into three major components: Research, Documentation & Archiving; Policy & Media Intervention; and Education, Arts & Creativity, all three tied together by Publishing and Communications activities centred around this website and associated media.
Research, Documentation & Archiving
This component involves researchers and other academics in developing a deeper understanding of the selected indigenous musical instruments by developing a research paper based on historical and other sources. The Research Paper was reviewed by experts in the field and revised accordingly.
Secondly, it involves identifying and locating practitioners of these musical instruments, engaging with them, and documenting their personal stories, how they make such instruments, with what materials, the music itself, its use in different contexts, and the cultural significance of the various endangered forms of indigenous music. Since these practitioners are often located in remote rural areas, this phase of activity was characterised by outreach work. Once the documentation was captured, it led to a third activity: the data captured is analysed, transcribed, translated, and cataloged into our online resource library.
Policy & Media Interventions
The Policy & Media Inventions Component involves musicians/artists, cultural institutions, educators, and other invested parties in consensus-gathering exercises to determine recommendations to be tabled before education, arts, and culture policy implementers at a workshop. A Working Group was created to spearhead the process of formally channeling proposed recommendations to relevant authorities and communication with other stakeholders and the media. A Policy Implementation Roadmap is being drafted for publication and hopefully for adoption by the state. Media institutions and practitioners were also engaged in the workshop.
Education, Arts & Creativity
The Education, Arts & Creativity component involves musicians, educators, and new-media artists in a collaborative learning and creative process around sound, music, storytelling, and animation. The Music Training Program was kickstarted in March 2022 at Morija Arts Centre attracting x number of artists and performers who learned to make and play the selected indigenous instruments. The training was followed by a concert at the Morija Arts Centre, a concert which demonstrated how quickly certain instruments could be revived for a new generation.
The program progressed to the Lesotho College of Education where we trained music lecturers and artists from Maloti 3 Studio to make and play these instruments. This phase was also followed by a concert, where further creativity and innovation were observed, bolstering confidence in the outcome of this process.
Finally, first-year pre-service teacher trainees, who were taking Music as an elective course, received training. Due to time constraints, they were not able to make the instruments but they did receive a foundation in playing/performance, such that at the closing ceremony some exhibited great promise.
Pre-service teacher trainees and artists were awarded certificates of attendance for successfully completing their music training course under the tutelage of Mr. Mpho Molibeng. Mr Molibeng is versatile in playing over 20 indigenous African musical instruments, and a well-loved instructor who gave generously of his knowledge and skill to all concerned.
An Ethnomusicology Learning Module (Workbook) tailored to address the needs experienced by teachers/learners under the Lesotho Arts & Entrepreneurship curriculum was developed. The Module is designed to assist teachers in instructing traditional Basotho music as well as individual learners in learning how to make and play these instruments as well as fully appreciate the context in which the music is played in the Basotho cultural setting.
A Full-length Animation Production currently brings together artists and sector technicians from the fields of music, sound engineering, sound design, voice-over art, poetry, storytelling, writing, film, illustration, character design, graphic design, and motion graphics to collaborate with practitioners of traditional music. This collaboration will culminate in the creation of a full-length animated film (20 minutes). The film is based on Basotho traditional folklore, with the narrator being a traditional storyteller; it will include a soundtrack composed of traditional instrumental music, as well as the creation of sound effects from traditional Instruments. The story was written by Lerato Molisana, the screenplay by Lineo Segoete, the storyboard, and background by Patrick Rorke, the characters by Thato Basil, and the post-production by Siyabulela Mosotho. It is being directed by Nthabiseng Mohanela.