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Music has Cultural Ties to Back Home For Zimbabwean Student at Berklee College of Music

Kundayi Musinami has come a long way from Harare Zimbabwe to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston Massachusetts. Kundayi is in his second year and he says the transition to attend Berklee was a big adjustment for him. “The first year which is last year went by really slow and it was almost treacherous I should say. I think just the adjustment you know between continent and between cultures, societies and communities it was quite a drastic change and the adjustment did not come very easy until I had develop a local family," he says. "It was very difficult to settle in I think it was mainly because of the differences in the cultures especially back home we are very free and open people,” he says. “You could meet somebody on the street and just strike a conversation and not even know their name and part ways without knowing who they are, and out here it is very difficult everybody is very private and people kind of stay away so it is difficult to create new relationships unless you find an organization which is why I started getting involved with organizations on the campus, clubs and so forth that help create the kind of interactive forum and make it very easy to create new relationships.”

Growing up in Zimbabwe, Kundayi says music was a way of life for him and a way to communicate during the hardships of his childhood. “I decided to come to the United States to college because I wanted to pursue jazz composition and other jazz related music endeavors and that is the primary reason why I decided to come out to Berklee,” he says. “I think music was always a huge interest for me because it is a way of communication especially back home. It is a way of expression in a lot of scenarios especially through the colonial period and through wars that we had to fight for freedom,” he says. “One of the primary things that carried it through was the music and through the hardships growing up in the village the one thing that I can always remember is my grandmother teaching us new songs and that kind of stuff," he adds. "So music has always kind of been a way of life, but never at the level that I would be thinking that I would be studying jazz or anything it was just more cultural if anything that is how I have always had a keen interest in music.”

Kundayi is working on a master in music production and engineering. He is also a vocalist. For leisure Kundayi is involved with the African Student's Union as well as the Christian Fellowship group. He says the relationships he has gained while attending Berklee is beyond measure. “I would say the relationships that I have found on campus and with certain families in the United States, but mostly and especially on campus with the staff at Berklee they have had open arms and they have received me well, he says. “Everybody has worked together to try and make sure that I pursue this vision. “They have helped me in all kinds of ways to make sure that I am in school again every semester and that I do not miss home much and that my studies are going well,” he adds. “So I think that is something that I treasure a lot is the open arms that I have received from the staff here at Berklee.”

Kundayi's hope one day is to use his talents and skills in music to give back to younger generations. “I definitely feel that music is a universal language now and it has become such a mode of communication through all levels of society from economies to politics and even to just our societal existence on a day to day basis,” he says. “ I think globally the power of music is becoming more and more evident even as we see the politicians lining up with musicians and all that kind of stuff, so I think music is really a tool that can be used for the betterment of the whole global vision that any country or any place might have which is a tool and an instrument that can be used to shape our young people which is really my main focus.”