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Jazz festival — event to remember

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The just-ended October International Jazz Festival will remain in many a jazz lover’s memory as a unique one with exciting collaborations and adding value to the community.

Every concert and workshop was convivial and well attended.

The festival brought out something new and exciting for the performers, audiences and participants. It was a fantastic experience that made everyone realise that they were part of something different and not just another festival.

“The festival is not only about music; it is easy to just bring musicians to perform. This is more about creating relationships amongst the artists and the attraction to the public is created by many different activities including cultural, social and artistic initiatives,” said festival organiser Paolo Pettini of the Italian Embassy in Harare.

There was a spirit of togetherness amongst the artists from different parts of the world as they worked together.

The musicians rehearsed together and performed new and wonderful versions of one another’s music to the amazement of the audiences. Oliver Mtukudzi performed with Rafaele Casarano and Kunle Ayo while Patience Musa did some exciting pieces with Francesco Bearzartti of the Tinissima Quartet.

This year’s week-long festival was officially launched on Saturday, October 8 with a dinner function attended by the diplomatic and business community.

The event was also a celebration of the Italian art of cuisine and an opportunity for the embassy to showcase this important aspect of Italian culture.

The next day the festival was hosted by Harare Safari Lodge. This was a wonderful family show held in the lovely environment of the lodge’s surrounds with green gardens and beautiful views of the lake. Revellers were also treated to sundown cruise on Lake Chivero.

Francesco Bearzartti and the Tinissima Quartet from Italy performed one concert only at The Mannenberg on October 10.

The crowd went wild when the band’s trumpeter showcased unusual ways of playing the instrument. He produced sounds one would never expect from the instrument, blowing into all its different holes — from the mouthpiece to the side and the front.

The Mannenberg also hosted well-attended concerts on Tuesday and Thursday. Ayo, Jazz Invitation, Amanda e la Banda, Casarano and Prudence Katomeni-Mbofana performed.

On Thursday night at The Mannenberg the festival presented an international jam session that gave the less known Zimbabwean artists an opportunity to perform alongside their international counterparts.

Mtukudzi and Casarano performed at the Italian Club on Friday night while Ayo, Amanda e la Banda and Katomeni-Mbofana performed at the festival’s closing concert on Saturday at the same venue.

An important component of the October International Jazz Festival was the workshops programme held at Zimbabwe College of Music, Celebration Centre and the House of Smiles.

The workshops attracted school children as well as street kids. International and local artists took the time to teach music skills to participants and as well as performing with the children.

The annual festival was made possible through a partnership of the Italian Embassy, the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe and Pamberi Trust. Festival sponsors include the European Union, Ethiopian Airways, FBC Bank, Peroni, Telecel, Fiat, Rainbow Tourism Group, Progressive Insurance Brokers and Sontine Travel.

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