Gear for October Fest

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Preparations for the October International Jazz Festival are now in full swing. The jazz showcase will this year run from October 7 to 16.

This is an annual festival organised by the Italian Embassy in conjunction with local partners. It is part of the embassy’s cultural exchange programme with Zimbabwe.

The jazz extravaganza is in its fourth edition this year. It was previously known as the Italian Jazz Festival and it has now been re-branded to October International Jazz Festival to reflect the festival’s international thrust and its core values.

The festival is a platform for artistes to exchange ideas and interact with one another as they craft collaborations.

A notable outcome of this initiative was Dudu Manhenga’s tour of Italy in July this year. The tour was conceived during interaction and collaboration with Italian artistes at last year’s edition of the festival.

Dudu was then invited to tour Italy, where she performed at major festivals and venues throughout the country.

The Afro-jazz singer has since been invited back to perform at the prestigious Rome Jazz Festival at Auditorium de Roma in November this year.

The October festival will bring three bands from Italy, one from Nigeria and six Zimbabwean acts to perform at over 12 concerts in the capital.

Some of the acts include Oliver Mtukudzi, Amanda e la Banda, Raffaele Casarano, Tinissima Quartet, Manhenga, Jazz Invitation, Kunle Ayo and Prudence Katomeni-Mbofana.

“We look forward to an exciting festival with a lot of possibilities. The format of the 2011 festival will give local artistes several opportunities to perform and interact with international ones and to promote cultural exchange and mutual understanding,” said Paolo Pettini, the Italian Embassy cultural attaché, in an interview recently.

Performances will be held at various venues across the city including Rainbow Towers, Harare Safari Lodge, Mannenberg, Celebration Centre, Pakare Paye Arts Centre and the Italian Club.

Some of the concerts will be free of charge in order to take the festival to a wider audience.

Beside performances, the festival will incorporate workshops for musicians, street kids and schoolchildren drawn from various schools around Harare.

The workshops are meant to teach music skills as well inspire young people to pursue music as a career.

The Italian Embassy in Harare hosts the October International Festival partnership with the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe and Pamberi Trust.

Sponsors include Ethiopian Airways, FBC Bank, Peroni, Telecel, Fiat, Rainbow Tourism Group, Progressive Insurance Brokers and Sontine Travel.