Pembroke College Chapel Choir

Music Exchange with Zambia, 2017

In September 2017, the Choir of Pembroke College, Cambridge, spent two weeks in Zambia participating in extensive outreach work and giving performances. The trip's focus was to a cultural exchange which would allow Pemrboke musicians to learn something about the Zambian musical culture whilst passing on some of what of their knowledge in return. The trip was carried out in association with The Muze Trust, The Bana Tandizo Foundation (formerly The Estelle Trust) and The Butterfly Tree Foundation.

Outreach work in Livingstone. 

The first week was spent in Livingstone, where the Choir was split into two groups.


The first of these groups went to Mukuni Village to work with the Butterfly Tree Foundation, and continue the work of The Muze Trust. The village has a vibrant song tradition that was, until recently, almost entirely dependent on being passed on mouth-to-mouth. However, a couple of years ago, their ‘Song Master’ died, and the villagers worried that, as a result, many of their songs would be lost. In 2015, The Muze Trust sent two professional musicians to the village in order to help teach some of the villagers musical notation. This wasn’t intended to change the musical tradition of the village, but allow them to make a record of the songs they knew at that specific point of time. The villagers have now requested some extra teaching. Pembroke continued this work by giving ‘top-up’ notation lessons to the villagers, and helping them notate and record some of their songs.


The second group of Choir members spent the week giving music workshops to children at local churches and orphanages, including St Andrew’s Anglican Church and the Ebenezer Orphanage. These workshops built on the model used by The Muze Trust in 2014, when they sent four musicians to Zambia (including Pembroke’s current Director of Music) to work with Lusaka’s Music Academy and give music workshops in schools.

At the end of the week, the whole Choir partook in an ‘exchange-performance’, in which the Mukuni Choir performed some of their songs whilst Pembroke performed some of ours.

Outreach work in Lusaka.

In week 2, the Choir was based in Lusaka. The whole choir spent half a day in Misisi Village, a shanty town in Lusaka. There, they gave music workshops in St Catherine’s Centre, a school run by Project Zambia offering safety and education to the children of Misisi. The Choir also spent a day doing music workshops at the school in Kachele Village, one of the poorest communities near Lusaka. To support an exciting new choir project in Lusaka, sessions in notation were offered and a joint performance also took place