Zim group heads for oscars

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Zimbabwean talent has this year been recognised internationally with an Oscar nomination.

Liyana, a Bulawayo based nine-piece music group has been nominated in the Short Documentary category.

Their piece is titled “Music by Prudence” where disabled Zimbabwean singer and songwriter Prudence Mabhena sends a message of hope through her music.

The group was formed at King George IV School of Children in Bulawayo and discovered by the Zimbabwe-born Leslie Goldwasser, who is now based in the US .

Touched by Prudence’s music and life story Goldwasser facilitated the group’s first tour to the US in December last year, where they performed at the Apollo Theatre.

During the group’s stay in the US they made good friends with legendary singer Sting and Yoko Ono, John Lennon’s widow with whom they recorded a song with at the John Lennon Bus.

Liyana consists of five disabled members in wheelchairs, two on crutches and one of them is deaf.

According to the documentary website Prudence’s story is similar to that of many of the disabled kids of Africa , a story of abandonment and abuse.

Liyana took second prize in an all Africa music competition. They were the only group in the competition who were disabled.

In 2006 they toured Sweden , Belgium and the Netherlands . The tour was part of their prize for winning the competition. In 2009 Liyana spent a month in the US performing for California and New York audiences.

The group includes lead singer Prudence, back-up singer Tapiwa Nyengera, marimba players Energy Maburutse, Honest Mupatse, and Vusani Vuma. Drummer Goodwell Nzou, back-up singer Marvelous Mbulo and keyboardist Farai Mabhande make up the full compliment.

Liyana is a Ndebele name meaning “it’s raining”.

Music by Prudence is up against China’s unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province, The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gadner, The last truck: Closing of a General Motor’s Plant and Rabbit a la Berlin.

This year Oscar Awards will be held on Sunday the 7th of March.