BY DEMETRIA MANYONGA
ACCLAIMED Zimbabwean afro-fusion artiste Blessing “Bled” Chimanga will be part of the glittering line-up of musicians expected to perform at the eighth edition of the Indian Ocean Music Market (IOMMa) scheduled for June 3 to 6 in Reunion Island.
Bled will be the only Zimbabwean performing at the global showcase, whose schedule will also encompass practical workshops, conference and film screening dealing with current issues.
The musician told NewsDay Life & Style that they were expecting new partnerships to be forged at the music market, expected to attract a huge audience and push selected artistes into the limelight.
The afro-fusion artiste said the programme — which will have 14 groups from the Reunion and also includes 15 other international outfits — was also expected to embrace an artistic event representing all forms of music, including traditional and contemporary genres from the wide Indian Ocean area.
“I feel great and excited to have been given such an opportunity. Hundreds of bands applied and when you get accepted, it’s beyond just a great feeling. I have gained even more confidence in my work and l know the world will also respond to my work too,” Chimanga said, adding that the programme would improve his career, grow his international brand as well as raise the country’s flag high.
Bled said the opportunity would broaden his international contacts and improve bookings, while also connecting him to the right festivals.
The self-taught 28-year-old drummer, instrumentalist and songwriter ventured into music in 2006 and worked with several top local musicians, including the late Oliver and Sam Mtukudzi, Hope Masike, Tariro Negitare and Busi Ncube.
Bled has also been part of several international bands, including Freshly Ground from South Africa and Amanda Labanda from Italy. He released his debut album, Dreams, in 2016.
He is renowned for his trademark energetic stage performances with a knack for blowing away his audiences.
Bled is not only well-known for playing the drum, marimba and percussion, but has also worked as a music teacher for many years.