Masike features in Canadian play

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MBIRA songbird Hope Masike, who was cast as the lead actress in a yet-to-be-named Canadian one-woman play, has disclosed that the project rescheduled to next year following the ravaging coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak that has wreaked havoc across the world.

BY FREEMAN MAKOPA

The mbira star told NewsDay Life & Style yesterday that she was engaged by Canadian playwright Shaunty Grant, to offer services in the theatre project.

This was after the playwright was impressed by some of Masike’s projects and decided to work with her in the play.

“I was engaged by playwright Shaunty Grant who is from Canada. She was impressed by my performance in some of my projects, so she emailed me and I went to Canada in February where we worked on the script for the play and I am supposed to be the main act. It’s a one-woman play theatre with a lot of music,” Masike said.

The musician, who recently published her debut poetry collection, said the project was initially scheduled to be wrapped up in August this year before COVID-19 threw spanners into the works.

“But we have rescheduled the project to next year due to COVID-19 outbreak because we were supposed to finish the project in August, but we are now looking forward to continue with the production next year, that’s if the situation permits us,” she said

Masike said the project was expected to run for three years and her desire was to use it as a springboard to make an impact on the international theatre scene.

Though largely known as a musician, Masike is not new to theatre, having featured in a number of local stage productions.

“The project is supposed to be complete in three years and I am confident that I will make an impact on the world map through my roles in theatre production,” she said.

“This is not my first time to feature in a theatre project as I have done some on the local soil such as Bongile and I am proud that people are appreciating my work.”

Masike also disclosed that she was working on her fourth album with her Norwegian producer, Erik Nylander.

“We are working on my fourth album and he (Nylander) is using the COVID-19 lockdown period to perfect it and I am writing some poems and music as I am eyeing to spread my wings and also grow my brand.”

However, the mbira maestro said the COVID-19 outbreak affected her a lot and had to cancel some of her shows and projects.

“It has affected us a lot because we are used to generating income on live shows and we have cancelled various projects, but on the other hand the outbreak has challenged us to utilise digital platforms rather than totally rely on gigs. It’s high time we migrated to digital era and market ourselves well. As for me, some of my projects are already online and I am trying to capitalise on that,” she said.

“Just like turning lemons into lemonade, it’s a great chance for us to move forward.”

Masike is well known for her expertise in playing mbira and a captivating lead voice. Her music ventures have led to tours and collaborations with several high-profile international artistes.

Masike, who has played an influential role in popularising modern mbira music, has three albums under her belt — Hope (2009) and Mbira, Love and Chocolate (2012) and Exorcism of a Spinster (2019).