Zambian Arts, at its core, is a solution.
A modern solution, for a modern issue. For what seems to be an eternity, upcoming Zambian artists would have to sell an arm and a leg to get attention from those outside their inner circle. Trying to get their work out there was such a great effort, and didn’t often bring a lot back in return. The increased use of the Internet has helped the cause, and there are plenty of Zambian music sites and blogs where people can get their music, but ZedArts is different. The goal of this particular platform is to be a voice for the voiceless (as ironic as that is). But what I mean is that our music industry is heavily saturated, we’ve been hearing the same names for some time now.
As we have seen in South Africa, the democratization of their music platforms has opened up a multitude of opportunities for their artists, both old & new. Who’s to say Zambia can’t do the same? Of course, the circumstances are different and the two industries are on relatively different timelines, but the fact that ZedArts has focused (and thrived) on upcoming artists is a testament to the amount of talent we actually have in the country. Founded in 2017 by Bwalia Nkumbula, this is the ZedArts mantra:
- To help showcase the hidden talent the country has
- To help the Zambian entertainment and creative industry grow
- To connect Zambian creatives around the world
And that is precisely what they have set out to do. It’s been quite inspiring to watch, honestly. In addition to providing a streaming and download service for music, ZedArts is also distinguishable in that they profile artists that feature on their site, as well as give brief descriptions of both singles and albums/mixtapes. The site also has lyrics up of most of the artists’ singles, another unique feature.
I know I’ve mainly focused on the musical aspect of the site, but they do also profile bloggers, photographers and even dancers. It’s an all-inclusive creative site. Last year, Bwalia and the ZedArts team further highlighted their ambitions to dominate the creative industry in Zambia by launching their own record label (ZedArts Records) and launching the ZedArts app. They’re in this for the long game, and at the stage the Zambian creative industry is currently at, platforms like these are practically a necessity. Personally, it’s helped me discover artists like Princess Natasha Chansa, and Brave Nation artists M.Y.I. & Menace.ZedArts Kids Project, a community drive to give to underprivileged children. The reason other countries have blossoming creative industries is through channels like these, and it’s something I really believe in. Zambians artists really do need local support, and ZedArts make that a much easier process.
If you’re not gonna take my word for it, go see the site for yourself at zedarts.co
[Pictures taken by @harti_24]