Mbira player Mary Anibal has returned from the 13th edition of the Market for Abidjan Performing Arts (Masa) Festival a revived and focused person and intends to share her Abidjan experience through the pre-launch of her forthcoming album, Maria Wenyu.

Masa ran from April 16 to 18 in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire.

Anibal told NewsDay Life & Style that she highly rates Masa which became her second international tour this year after a well-received performance at the Sauti zaBusara in February.  The Masa is a cultural platform for promoting African performing arts. And some of their objectives are to support creativity and good quality productions including facilitating the movement of artistes and their works within Africa and throughout the world. Anibal will pre-launch her music album Maria Wenyu on May 3 at the Ella the Garden in Harare. The event will include a Press conference and time to share her memories with fans after her performance at the Masa.

“My Maria Wenyu pre album launch shall give the audience quality time through songs Maria Wenyu, Gogoride, Bhonzo Muderere and Sarungano ahead of the official album and music video launch on June 8 at a venue yet to be decided. My forthcoming music album is a collective effort of many music producers such as Keith Farquharson, Trust Semende, Chiweda and Rodney, among others.

“I had two performances, the first one was at the Pelais De La Culture — Salle Francois Lougah and on April 18 which was our Independence Day in Zimbabwe I performed at Yelams where I met Dobet Gnahore (Côte d'Ivoire), Nelida Kaar (Cameroon), Zulu Alves (Cape Verde), Maasai Vocals (Kenya) and Freddy Masamba (DRC). My greatest experience was with Dobet Gnahore who had her fond memories of watching the late Chioniso Maraire rekindled through my mbira playing. Mbira legend Chioniso Maraire was arguably one of the youthful mbira players to emerge from Zimbabwe who became internationally celebrated and left a void which is yet to be filled.

“African culture is very diverse and African music has so many beautiful characteristics which are interlinked and therefore becoming easier and easier for us to connect to each other in a jam session,” Anibal said.

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She teaches mbira music instruments at the Music Crossroads Academy. Anibal believes that everyday is a learning day and wishes to claim global appeal in teaching and training after her studies at the Midlands State University. The Bhonzo Muderere hitmaker shared the beauty of her voice with Jah Prayzah and hopes she remains inspirational to many school-going children who are doing visual and performance  arts as a subject where music holds a huge stake.

“The new curriculum has visual and performance arts as a subject and shall help in levelling the ground and ascertaining the relevance of infrastructural development. The cost of establishing musical arts education centres is high and requires a collective approach which involves the government and the corporate world.

“Competitions such as the Allied Arts, Chibuku Neshamwari, Jikinya Dance Festivals have helped in putting into prominence music and dance cultures of Zimbabwe and ironically there is still an annoying level of lack of supporting infrastructure including well manufactured music instruments,” she said.