Sofar Harare wraps up year with 8th concert

Some of the guests who attended Sofar Sounds Harare 8th concert at Puttery Barn in Chisipite. Pic: kreatinphotography.

Sofar Sounds Harare’s eighth edition concluded with another eclectic line-up of local artists who wrapped up an intimate events calendar that saw the community-based music initiative touring different unique locations around the city of Harare throughout the year.

The music concept, established in the United Kingdom in 2015, made its debut in Zimbabwe in December last year and has been taking music fans on intimate music tours across the city showcasing local talents in non-traditional music spaces such as First Floor Gallery, Alliance Francaise de Harare, Ela The Garden, Vanilla Moon, The National Gallery of Zimbabwe (NGZ), Chez Zandi and a private residence in Highlands.

Over 50 artists have performed at Sofar Harare.

Last Saturday afternoon, approximately a hundred people gathered at the Puttery Barn restaurant in Chisipite surrounded by lush greenery and a scenic view of an American-style putt-putt mini golf course that set the stage for a unique blend of beautiful scenery and intimate live music performances.

The concert opened with seasoned music producer and Afro R&B soul sensation, Victor Enlisted, singing intimately while skilfully playing the keyboard on songs such as Ndese, Ndakamirira, Deep Waters, and Ndidewo.

The artist’s music echoes the experiences of love, resilience and the complexities of life and is a fusion of soulful lyrics and infectious beats that he expresses in Shona, English and a dash of Ndebele.

Following Enlisted’s performance, instrumentalist and self-taught mbira player Tatenda Chioniso Rushwaya wowed the audience as she alternated between her mbira and acoustic guitar.

The African contemporary Christian singer and songwriter mesmerised the crowd with yet-to-be-released songs including Mudziva reRudo, Moyo Yenyu and Be Still/Nyarara Mwana.

In Moyo Yenyu, the artist reflects on hope and faith and told IndependentXtra that the song is an encouragement in challenging times.

Rushwaya, who is also part of the stage management team at the annual Stanbic Bank Jacaranda Music Festival, recently completed her Music Business course at Music Crossroads Academy Zimbabwe (MCAZ).

In April she launched a social event called Ku-Mbira Lounge, which is a platform that promotes inspiring conversations between emerging and seasoned female creative, while telling stories through mbira music, original musical compositions, poems accompanied by the mbira instrument as well as other forms of storytelling.

The concert was sponsored by the Krystal Chindori-Chininga Foundation (KCCF), which is an Afro-feminist organisation dedicated to empowering young women and girls in Zimbabwe. Established this year by international agriculture and rural development practitioner, Krystal Chindori-Chininga, KCCF provides school fees and scholarships to O and A-level girls in Harare, Mazowe and Guruve to ensure that they have access to education.

Additionally, the foundation offers financial support to young women and girls who aspire to pursue agriculture studies in their post-secondary education.

Despite a delayed start due to technicalities, Sofar Sounds adhered to its trademark concept of unveiling surprise acts.

As the afternoon unfolded, the crowd was treated to an unexpected appearance when the MC Michar Mushiko introduced multi-award-winning hip-hop artist Asaph Afrika.

Dressed in a Zulu-inspired traditional headband known as umqhele, the artist quickly drew  the  crowd  in  with his flawless lyrical delivery with hit tracks like Good Times Anthem, Back To December and The Vibe Is Correct.

The radio personality, who has also worked with Def Jam Africa, is the first artist from the country to be nominated for an MTV Africa Music Award in the Listeners’ Choice category (2021).

As much as Sofar Sounds does not have headliners in its artist line-ups, the biggest surprise of the day was the arrival of Afro township jazz maestro Tanga Wekwa Sando whose appearance as the last act left an indelible mark on the yesteryear music enthusiasts in the crowd, especially when he started singing his 1995 hit song Mahobho.

Sando  also  performed  the  song Wake muZagga, taken from  his  album Zagga (2021). Zagga is a new genre fathered by the veteran artist, which he defines as Afro-contemporary music with a “tinge of jiti and a jazzy vibe to it”.

Looking ahead, event organisers pledged to continue hosting more intimate music engagements in unique spaces, maintaining the element of surprise with unannounced artists.

They hinted at an enhanced music experience in 2024, starting with the celebration of Sofar Sounds’ first anniversary in February at yet another secret location in Harare.

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