TOP notch performances by some of Southern Africa’s top artistes, among them Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi, marked the official opening of Zimbabwe’s premier arts event, the Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa) on Tuesday night at the ZOL Main Stage at Harare Gardens.
BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
The opening concert of this year’s edition of the six-day fete, which attracted a full house comprising mixed races, was staged under the theme Let Our Song Be Sung, and was directed by the multi-award winning duo of Steve and Bokani Dyer.
Although the show kicked off 30 minutes late, this did not dampen the party mood among the revellers, who braved the chilly weather.
The Southern African artistes who were a marvel to watch during both their combined and later solo sets performed under the reimagined band, Mahube that featured Steve and Bokani Dyer and Mbuzo Khoza from South Africa, Xixel Langa from Mozambique, Zimbabweans Oliver Mtukudzi, Hope Masike, Josh Meck, Mangoma Moyo and Sam Mataure.
While some fans may not have been familiar with the other artistes on the stage, it was Mtukudzi and Masike’s presence that brought them closer home, as the duo’s performances demonstrated why they are among the most highly-rated performers both locally and internationally.
In the spirit of appreciating the talent, the audience clapped, danced and screamed during their performances.
In the solo segments, it was the “Princess of Mbira”, Masike who performed first and exhibited her mbira-playing prowess, which blended with her melodious voice, before a combined set with Mtukudzi, as they performed the song Hondo much to the delight of the fans.
Speaking to NewsDay on the sidelines of the show, Masike said it was fantastic performing as Mahube and sharing the stage with the best musicians from Southern Africa.
“The mere chance to work so intimately with Tuku, Sam Mataure and Steve Dyer from the first Mahube, and the new musicians was a life-giving experience, an honour I thank the heavens for,” she said.
“So, being on that stage, opening the festival under a beautiful Harare sky, next to musicians, whose work I respect so much, with a wonderful audience, was just God showing me how great He is and His love is incomparable to any other.”
The obligatory fireworks display at the end of the show was stunning.
The festival, which will stretch to Sunday, showcases arts and culture in the genres of music, spoken word, applied craft and design, theatre, fashion and dance is being held under the theme Hifa 2017: Staging an Intervention.