Renowned Kenyan artist to grace Hifa

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Phenomenal Kenyan Afro-jazz musician and renowned performance poetry artiste Asali is one of the artists that are expected to grace the Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa).

She is slated to perform and engage in a unique cross-cultural exchange programme that will see her collaborate with one of Zimbabwe’s Afro-jazz artists, Josh Meck.

Asali (Swahili for honey) is a talented musician whose poetry traverses the borders of English and Swahili and whose music marries Afro-jazz and spoken word poetry.

She gives voice to the voiceless, as demonstrated in her album Baba Speaks which delves into issues facing Kenyans and Africa as a whole and is hence a soulful chronicle of Asali’s insight on love and the inner spirit, which she expresses with intense reflection.

According to Wikipedia Asali was born in Jerusalem and studied at the American University of Beirut and is one of Kenya’s most respected and renowned dub poets.

Arguably one of the country’s finest bass guitarists, Meck is a multi-talented Afro-jazz musician whose music pulses with Zimbabwean traditional rhythms such as mhande and katekwe and is fused with modern contemporary jazz styles.

His music is also a blend of traditional Zimbabwean instruments such as mbira and marimba, with electronic instruments such as bass guitar and keyboards, and Meck also plays the Senegalese kora.

His debut album entitled Wanetsa discusses day-to-day life in Zimbabwe and the challenges faced by Africans in their quest to build a better Africa.
The collaboration will be a fusion of Swahili and Zimbabwean Shona cultures which share much in common, from similar languages to customs and beliefs, buttressing the notion that most African societies originated from Bantu-speaking people.

“The collaboration incorporates different cultural rhythms to generate a new expression of the art grounded in the two societies that appeals to an international audience,” said Rosie Mitchell of the Hifa communications department.

“This collaboration is one of the star attractions of the festival and part of the engagement that the audience is anticipating.

“There are more solid and perfect collaborations that the audience can expect to see and through these artistic collaborations the focus is to engage the community so that people have the chance to appreciate art,” said Mitchell.