The success of an artist is not measured merely by the big pay-offs, but by the way they touch lives with their music and the stories they tell.
Dudu Manhenga recently concluded a successful Italian tour which she found both inspiring and humbling.
This tour sparked a love affair between Dudu and Italian audiences. Her music, though in a language they do not speak or understand, deeply touched audiences wherever she went. At the end of every performance the songstress would sign autographs for up to an hour.
She charmed the Italian media so much that she consistently got positive coverage and rave reviews in the duration of the tour.
She was interviewed live on national television and everywhere she went, the regional newspapers covered the progress of her tour. The media characterised her as:
“The Queen of Africa”, “The next big African voice” and “Mama Africa”; accolades that were accorded such greats as the late Miriam Makeba.
“The response that we got was so humbling, there was such an outpouring of emotions that women would approach me and give me their jewellery in appreciation of our performance,” she said.
“The Mayor of Salina in Sicily presented me with a bouquet of flowers after our performance there. Italians are trained music consumers who have taken the arts to a higher level in terms of appreciation. They would sit quietly and listen attentively to every song and applaud at the end of each song,” she said.
The singer was invited to return to Italy to perform at the prestigious Rome Jazz Festival at the beautiful Auditorium de Roma in November.
Big international jazz stars including George Benson and Earl Kluh have performed at this festival and the invitation extended to Dudu is an indication of her star quality.
Manhenga said at the beginning of the tour people would attend concerts out of curiosity. As the tour progressed and the Dudu magic picked momentum; people would drive distances of up to 600km for a second experience of her performance.
“The tour went beyond our expectations in terms of cultural exchange programmes as we know them.
We expected a low key tour; performing at small venues, colleges and schools but to our big surprise we were performing at major high profile festivals alongside such great Italian artists as top trumpeter Paolo Frezu, saxophonist Rafael Casarano, composer and musician Gino Paoli and other top musicians from all over the world,” said Manhenga.
She flew the Zimbabwean flag high performing at among others, the Cestri Jazz Festival, which attracts artists from all over the world and runs for two months with performances every Friday and Saturday.
She also performed at the Locomotive Jazz Festival and in front of a full house at the world famous International House of Women in Rome.