Monica Cheru-Mpambawashe Lifestyle Editor
The Book Cafe is determined to survive and the core of loyal patrons will ensure that it is so, if the first Pop Up Book Cafe event of 2016 is anything to go by.
“Yes, it very much a success,” concurs Tom Brickhill of the Book Cafe in an interview with The Saturday Herald Lifestyle after the show .
“The crowd on Saturday was good. All the shows that we have held so far have been well attended. As a concept, we are pleased with Pop Up.”
Victor Kunonga headlined the event held at The Rooftop and New Ambassador Hotel last weekend which saw a sizeable crowd gather and dance the night away.
The Book Cafe became synonymous with mbira and jazz music as well as other genres and provided a relaxed venue for
Book Cafe founder Paul Brickhill sadly succumbed to cancer and a few months later Book Cafe had to once again leave the premises that patrons had become used to. Many thought this would be the demise of the initiative. Musicians and other artists expressed their dismay and hoped that some miracle would save their “home”.
The miracle seems to have come under Brickhill junior’s adaptability and a never say die attitude. It may not be the same as the permanent venue where the arty crowd could congregate any day and shoot the breeze even when there was no show, but at least patrons still get to see their favourite and upcoming artistes in a familiar atmosphere.
“We have taken artists we worked well with over the years so it contines to have that regular flavour,” said Brickhill.
Although there was a tent to keep the elements out, the rain still somehow spoiled the party. There was no way for the usual barbeque set up and patrons had to make do with hotel fare instead of ‘gochi gochi’ which is infinitely more popular and suitable.
Brickhill says there are plans to have at least one monthly event which will fall on the first weekend of the month. He said the line up for the first weekend of March is yet to be confirmed but Pop Up will definitely be happening.
Victor Kunonga had the crowd that included fellow musicians Mono Mukundu and Hope Masike eating out of his hand as they sang along to his lyrics. “Kure, kure, kure,” the crowd chanted as they danced along to one of their favourites. Fortunately the Book Cafe is a place where one only needs enthusiasm as you can literally dance as though no one is watching.
Kunonga says his fans can look forward to some exciting developments in 2016:
“I am working on quite a number of projects. I am doing a multinational collaboration with some of my friends from all over. There is Rahman from Iran, Constant from Burkina Faso. There is also someone from Spain. Locally there is Norman Masamba and Tete Joyce. It is a Victor Kunonga directed production.”
Kunonga is also concentrating on producing upcoming acts including Shaishai (commissioned by Hugh Mesekela) and Norman Masamba who he describes as ‘an artist of today who produces authentic Zimbabwe music’.
Victor Kunonga is known for his Afro-fusion with a jazzy sound and his lyrics which touch on various social issues including child abuse.