Hifa: Mokoomba sets the tone

Afro-fusion band Mokoomba perform during the official opening of Hifa on April 28.

RISING Victoria Falls Afro-fusion group Mokoomba set the tone for this year’s Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa) with an eye-catching performance on the premier festival’s opening night on Tuesday.

By Tinashe Sibanda

The opening show, dubbed The Power of Many, was held at the Zol Main Stage.

Mokoomba got festival goers in the mood with their most loved tracks that include Misodzi and Nyaradzo.

The internationally acclaimed group got the crowd clapping, dancing and singing to most of their tracks.

Mokoomba is riding its own rising tide as one of the best groups to emerge from Zimbabwe.

A full house turned up to witness the opening show punctuated by various acts that included an Afro-Japanese musical, a dance show, exhibitions and craft works.

Some of the picks of the night were performances by New York City vocalist and accordionist, Magda — a visiting opera star — and cellist Erich Oskar Huetter.

Tumbuka, AfriKera Dance Ensemble, National Ballet, tap dancer Jessie Sawyers, the cast of Tangram and Zvishamiso Dance Company also lived up to their billing.

“I don’t remember when I last attended a Hifa opening night where the main act was a local performance,” a member of the audience said.

“Mokoomba has certainly proved that they deserve the international acclaim and recognition in their homeland.”

Mokoomba’s appeal has been enhanced by their ability to sing in many local languages.

The group mainly sings in Tonga, but they are also comfortable crooning in Chewa, Bemba, English, Shona and Ndebele.

Mokoomba’s performance was spiced up by scintillating dances. Magda’s interaction with the audience was top notch.

Their performance was an excellent music, theatre, dance and design creation.

“Their fusion of different performances during the show was awesome and encouraging,” one spectator said.

Mokoomba’s dazzling performance was made possible by director Asa Jogi, designer Heeten Bhagat, musical director Magda Giannikou, storyteller and narrator Ignatius Mabasa and production manager Carine Tredgold.

A beautiful display of fireworks that left the audience gazing in the sky in admiration of the spectacle rounded off the opening night.

Mokoomba was presented by the Royal Norwegian Embassy in association with BancABC.