All that jazz: Zim marks International Jazz Day

“Jazz has been a force for positive social transformation throughout its history, and it remains so today. This is why Unesco created International Jazz Day. From its roots in slavery, this music has raised a passionate voice against all forms of oppression. It speaks a language of freedom that is meaningful to all cultures. The same goals guide Unesco in its efforts to build bridges of dialogue and understanding between all cultures and societies,” says Irina Bokova, Unesco director-general.

Zimbabwean jazz artists joined the rest of the world to mark the first International Jazz Day with a four-hour concert was held at the Book Café on Saturday, April 28. The local event was organised by Pamberi Trust in partnership with the Association of Women in the Performing Arts and Female Literary, Arts & Music Enterprise.

Dubbed “Jazz United”, the daytime jazz concert featured performances from some of Zimbabwe’s finest and upcoming jazz artists. The show’s top billing was made up of Dudu Manhenga, Prudence Katomeni, Bernie Bismark, Patience Musa, Rute Mbangwa and Hope Masike.

The show also featured the country’s best-loved groups including Jazz Invitation, Color Blu, the Hope Masike Trio, Mbare Trio, The Yon Brothers and the Sunsets. Instrumentalists Filbert Marova (keyboards), Tich Makalisa (keyboards), guitarists Jimmy Buzuzi and Pablo Nakappa, and Richie Lopes (saxophone) completed the line-up and made the show a truly memorable one with fantastic performances, especially during the jam session. Chimbi Mapfumo of Unesco and playwright Stephen Chifunyise delivered a few words on the protection and promotion of cultural diversity at the well-attended event that was graced by Peter Primus, the Deputy German Ambassador to Zimbabwe.

“The jazz artists we worked with were all fantastic.
The amazing turnout for International Jazz Day indicates that there is still a deep respect and a good market for jazz in Zimbabwe,” said Penny Yon of Pamberi Trust. April 30 was proclaimed International Jazz Day during the Unesco General Conference of November 2011. The initiative also seeks raise international awareness on the Unesco 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

The main objectives of the day, whose activities include performances by artists across the world, is to raise international awareness on the virtues of jazz as an educational tool and a force for peace, unity, dialogue and enhanced co-operation among people across the world.

Internationally, the day was launched on April 27 in Paris, France, by Unesco director-general Irina Bokova and goodwill ambassador Herbie Hancock. The programme of the launch included live performances, master classes and panel discussions featuring jazz legends Hugh Masekela, Marcus Miller, Barbara Hendricks and Dee Dee Bridgewater.

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