Dudu Manhenga’s tour of Italy got off to a roaring start as she performed at sold-out venues. At the time of going to press, Dudu had finished the first part of the tour which covered the north of Italy with harmonicist Max De Aloe.
Her opening concert in Macerata on July 13 was in front of more than 600 people. She performed alongside Rocco and the Rocks (an Italian band) and a band made up of Senegalese and Italian musicians.
At the end of Dudu’s performance all musicians were called back on the stage for a jam session.
It was one of those rare performances that awed the audience into silence.
“So far the tour has gone very smoothly. We did six concerts and we also performed at some great festivals in very beautiful cities,” said Dudu in a telephone interview recently.
The tour has so far taken Dudu and Color Blu to Rio Chiaro-Macerata, Gillarate (at a venue very similar to Harare’s Book Café), Busto Arsizio-Milano, Sestri Jazz Festival in Genova, Montemacerlo Jazz Festival, Montopoli Jazz festival and Diacetum Festival.
“This tour has been amazing so far, the audiences are very receptive and appreciative. We have actually run out of the CDs that we took with us. We now have to get our act together in terms of our online presence because our music has been well received.
“I am sure it will be sought after soon. The audiences are so polite and Italians are trained music consumers. It is amazing how they attentively listen and applaud after even the shortest solo, it’s very encouraging,” said the songstress.
Dudu said she was really touched when an old man approached her after a performance and asked for an autograph on the CD he had just bought. The old man’s comment was “Your music has injected me with life,” a comment Dudu says she found very heart-warming.
The band collaborated with de Aloe on the songs Bengimthandile, Welanga, Mvura Ngaiyinaye and Ewuwe; blending the harmonica and accordion to add a new flavour to their music.
“Performing with Max de Aloe has brought in a new lease of life to the music. It is a great experience to add a new instrument to the usual. It stretched all of us out of our comfort zone of playing together,” she said.
“The tour is going very well. It is a well-rounded experience, both for the performances and for the sightseeing. Italy is full of beautiful historical sites and it is amazing to be here. We are also learning a lot which we will bring to share with other artists when we get back,” said Manhenga.
Dudu has performed at festivals alongside such big names as Riccardo Tesi, Daniele Malvisi, Mckinley Moore and, Arianna Donadelli and John Scofield.
The tour, which runs from July to August 5, was made possible through the facilitation of the Italian Embassy in Harare.