The Hebrew Bible depicts that music and dance formed part of worship and reverence of Yahweh in which various musical instruments were played during ancient biblical times. In the modern post-biblical world, music and dance characterise every context of human existence either in moments of love, joy, celebration, victory, sorrow or reverence. In Zimbabwe, music - which is usually accompanied by dance - serves various purposes such as solidarity towards or remonstration against the land reform, despondency against corruption, celebration, giving hope to the sick, worship as in the church or appeasing the dead by those who are culturally-entrenched. Two fundamental questions need to be answered in this article: 1) What was the significance of music and dance in ancient Israel? 2) What is the significance of music and dance in Zimbabwe? In response to the above questions, this essay engages into dialogue the following three contestations. First, texts of music, musical instruments and dance in the Hebrew Bible are discussed in view of their spiritual significance in ancient Israel. Second, this study analyses music and dance from a faith perspective because it appears for the majority of Gospel musicians the biblical text plays a critical role in composing their songs. Third, this article examines music and dance in view of the spirituality which derives from various genres by Zimbabwean musicians in general. In its entirety, this article attempts to show that the Zimbabwean society draws some spirituality from music and dance when devastated by political, cultural or socio-economic crises.
This article is a reworked version of a paper presented at the ProPent Conference held at Bass Lake Lodge, north of Pretoria (29–31 August 2015).