By Mary Ramadhani
It was a thrilling moment as Angelic voices and laughter of happily excited and highly spirited children filled the Russian Cultural Center venue in Dar es Salaam last weekend.
And, their eager parents were beaming with pride on how far their precious babies have accomplished, while anxious but yet excited teachers did final arrangements, waiting for their pupils to give their best performance of children’s songs in Russian language.
Children of various races including Tanzania, Russia, Belarusian, United States of America, Ukraine, Great Britain, Kazakhstan, Turkey, and Oman all came together to compete at the first ever international festival on Russian children’s songs competition coined ‘CHIRIKU’. With the main purpose of increasing interest in learning Russian language and culture, organized by the Russian Center of Science and Culture in Dar es Salaam and in great co-operation with the National Arts Council (BAS AT A) welcomed every person to perform but focused mainly on children.
The concert that took place over the weekend featured children’s songs performed by ten different groups and solo upcoming young artists, who sang and danced cheerfully.
Commenting before the competition started, Director of the Russian Cultural Center Rifat Pateev said that the competition will be ‘very interesting and unusual’. And indeed it was a spectacular concert.
It was nothing like a competition at all, it felt more like a wonderful well compiled performance of beautiful and well-rehearsed children who could sing in a foreign language and together put on a show for their dear parents to enjoy, as in the end they all felt like winners.
As the children sang on top of their lungs not caring for the type of voice or musical notes coming out, nothing mattered to them as long as they were dancing and having fun.
And as their voices filled the concert halls one could hear and see proud parents and siblings clapping and whistling as they cheered for their loved ones to not so perfect but yet delightful tunes of their kids exciting voices proudly and in encouragement. Most of them were trying to capture the memorable moment with their tech gadgets.
Stunned but yet delightful faces lit up as a dance of fire, knives and super flexible people was performed by WakaWaka group catching the children’s attention and admiration, leaving them amused and amazed, ‘wow! ’ and ‘yeah!’ could be heard as they exclaimed while clapping in disbelief.
Receiving their grand prix trophies were Chunga-Changa a group of 28 children aged eight to nine years and the Dolphins a group of 13 children aged 14 to 16, with so many other groups who attained first to third places.
Giving me a taste of the language a grade five student at Sunrays Nursery and Primary School called Delvin who also performed in the competition greeted me in brilliant Russian language and all I could hear was ‘zdrahst-vooy-tyeh.’ I didn’t have the slightest clue of what he pronounced, and rushing of to talk to his friends he uttered ‘spasiba’ which I later came to understand that it meant thank you.
“The concert was very nice, we liked it and we are very happy” shouted joyfully Sesuga and Antonia who gave out single names as they dashed out to go celebrate their victory with friends and parents. Proud parents could be heard congratulating their children in voices that indicated how delighted they were just to see them give outstanding performances in a foreign language.
A very excited and proud mother exclaimed “I had no idea that my child could even speak Russian, she would now and then say mama we are practicing for a competition at school, but to see and hear her sing today has left me so astounded that I’m lost for words, to describe how happy and thankful I am.”
Counselor of the Russian Embassy and Representative of the Russian Federal Agency in Tanzania Maria Pateeva said that the concert for children songs in Russian language was organised so that children as well as everyone else could learn and get to know more about the Russian language and culture.
“This is the inaugural competition that we have arranged and it will be held annually, we had a good crowd and hoping that each coming year the number will increase especially for Tanzanian participants from both government and international schools.”
“This competition is focused on children but anyone who wants to participate is allowed to join,” she said.
Adding “We are through with this delightful festival today and tomorrow we will get ready to start preparing for the coming festival where everybody will be allowed to participate from a child of five years old to a grandparent who is looking for adventure of learning a new language.”
Proud Mariana Msengi, language teacher at Sunray Nursery and Primary School, said that it was a joy teaching the kids the songs as they enjoy learning, singing and dancing.
The school won two trophies – grade five who sang ‘Katyusha’ and grade three who sang ‘Chunga Changa.’
“I am so happy that parents came to witness what their children had learnt in school and how confident they are becoming.
I can proudly say that half of the crowd was filled with proud parents who received this event positively,” she commented.
Advising the parents, Msengi said that “It is important for parents to pay attention to their kids as every child has a special talent. Some are good at drawing, singing, writing, swimming all these can be noticed early on and parents are the ones to encourage and advance their kids talents. No talent is minute or unintelligent.”
What was witnessed today helps a child in various ways she noted, adding that learning to be in a team and work together in a team, building confidence and being able to stand out is among the few mentions of how such concerts help children.
DAILY NEWS ON SATURDAY
November 24, 2018