Keith Goddard: the composer

Keith Goddard started his musical education at the College of Music in Harare and from 1979 to 1982 studied composition and electro-acoustic music at Durham University in Englandunder David Lumsdaine and John Casken. His early composition works like “Afterthought” (1982), “Kutamba” (1983) and “Kunzwa” (1985) were dealing with the end of the liberation war and the emerging situation in newly independent Zimbabwe. Later on he also taught music and composition himself at the Zimbabwe College of Music.

Ranging from the awarded score for the film “Flame” (1995) to the electro-acoustic piece “The Monolith” (with Klaus Hollinetz, 1996) as part of the sound installation “Wounded Earth - And they greet us with guns” (1997), he realized some outstanding compositions by creating a fusion of Western thinking in structure and form with African tunings and sound worlds.

He became fond of Zimbabwe's rich musical heritage when he worked with Paul Berliner (The soul of Mbira) and Andrew Tracey, and as a skilled mbira player himself recorded traditional mbira songs for Kevin Volans (“White man sleeps”). He also strongly supported the almost forgotten mbira player Simon Mashoko, who had brought the spiritual traditions of the mbira music into the church, from where this music was banned as evil earlier on. Keith introduced this master of mbira - Gwenyambira - to many musicians from all over the world for recordings and collaborations.

After being introduced to the Ngoma buntibe music of the Batonka, the Valley Tonga, by the recordings which Hugh Tracey made in the 1950s, he also became a strong promoter and introduced this widely unknown music to composers, musicians and audiences in Zimbabwe and worldwide for many years (Six Reflections on Tonga Music, Simonga).

His opera project “Tapiwa”, which would have been the first Shona opera could not be finished due to financial and political reasons. In 2007 he was commissioned to compose a violin concerto for the Cultural Capital of Europe Linz09, which again due to severe reasons he did not manage to complete. In the same context he was realizing PARADE together with Peter Kuthan, a three days event with more than hundred musicians from all over the world floating through the outskirts of town, a key event of Linz09. The PARADE documentary recordings on CD/DVD are part of his latest musical heritage and now a special tribute to him.