Bismillahi Gargar, an all-female music group of Somali origin based in Kenya, is set to perform in Bulawayo during the annual Intwasa Arts Festival.
The show is a collaboration between Intwasa Arts Festival and the Alliance Française de Bulawayo.
“The women will perform at the Bulawayo Rainbow Hotel on the opening night of September 19,” said Gilmore Moyo, cultural coordinator with Alliance Francaise de Bulawayo.
“Their performance in Bulawayo is part of our cultural and arts exchange programmes that we hold on a regular basis throughout the year as an association in conjunction with the Embassy of France in Zimbabwe.”
Their music is a fusion of pop and traditional beats in keeping with Somali language and style arranged and recorded with modern instrumentation.
The group’s name is derived from the Somali word bismillahi which means- “in the name of Allah (God)” and gargar meaning -“joining or bringing together”.
Formed in 2003 with the purpose of reminding people of their traditional culture, Bismillahi Gargar focuses on their own empowerment in an area where cultural practices sometimes marginalise women.
“Music is just one of the activities they engage in.
Besides performing on national holidays, at weddings, harvests and other festivities, the women also run a self-help group weaving mats and ropes,” said Moyo.
Their debut album titled Garissa Express was recorded over a period of two years at Nairobi’s Ketebul Studios.
“This project involved the four founding members namely, Lulu Bashir Muge, Anab Gure Ibtahi, Amina Basher Elmoge and Asha Ibrahim Yussuf. The album’s release in Nairobi was a huge success,” he said.
Bismillahi Gargar will be supported by a local marimba group, Rainbow Blaze, which comprises marimba, Djembe drumming and percussion.
This year’s Intwasa Arts Festival kicks off on September 19, ending a week later with the edition running under the theme “Art Without Boundaries”.