JAPANESE mbira musician Sakaki Mango will this year perform at the Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa).
Mango, who last year failed to perform at Book Café due to some irregularities with the then newly opened venue, will perform in collaboration with the Limba Train Sound System on May 5 at the Lays Global Stage.
The artiste has made the thumb-piano a part of his life, learning from the most recognised teachers in Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Congo, crossing the African continent to understand the ancient backgrounds and the actual nuances of the incredible variety of instruments.
He mainly sings in his dialect of Kagoshima, Kyushu Island. His music is a fusion of Zimbabwean mbira, Tanzanian Ilimba and unique instruments from Malawi, Uganda and Zambia, all of them retuned, arranged and connected with electronic effectors.
The multi-award-winning artiste has studied African music widely and is today regarded as Japan’s greatest living “world music” exponent.
Born in Kagoshima (Southern Japan), Mango studied Swahili and travelled to Africa to learn to play various instruments.
He learnt how to play lamellaphones (thumb-pianos), limba from Hukwe Ubi Zawose, mbira from Garikai Tirikoti and electric likembe (Congolese amplified lamellaphone) from bands of Kinshasa.
Back in Japan, he has started to compose original music, cross-breed of African sounds and Japanese effects and mixes, sung in his dialect of Southern Japan and Swahili.
He has been awarded for various achievements.
Among his accolades are 2006 and 2008 Best Album awards (World Music) in Japan and Multi-film Festival celebrity nominee and winner as composer of the music for world acclaimed film Chocolat.
He has travelled all over the world on his musical expeditions.