Zim, Austrian artistes on ’Kunzwana’ tour

Yeukai Karengezeka Arts Correspondent
Seven outstanding artistes from Zimbabwe and Austria are set to rock southern Africa in a musical tour dubbed “Kunzwana” that runs from today to July 23.
‘‘Kunzwana’’ which is a musical journey is a trans-cultural collaboration between Austria and Zimbabwe.
Musicians who are part of the tour include Hope Masike and Josh Meck from Zimbabwe, Franz Hautzinger and Werner Puntigam from Austria as well as Isabelle Duthoit from France.

The tour starts with a visit by the Austrian musicians to the group Simonga from the remote village of Siachilaba deep in the Zambezi Valley.
It will be a vivid encounter with the traditional Ngoma Buntibe musical art form of the Tonga people, highlighted as a source of inspiration.

At the end of April the Austrian trio and the Zimbabwean quartet of musicians will meet in Harare for exchange, explorations and rehearsals, with a focus on Mbira and Chimurenga-inspired contemporary music styles.

The interaction will result in the formation of the trans-cultural “Kunzwana  1” ensemble which aims to strike a balance between different styles and cultures.
The artistes are set to perform at the upcoming Harare International Festival of Arts and in some areas in South Africa in May.

The artistes are set to perform at the Hifa and the Book Café in early May, and venues in South Africa. A number of further joint performances are already lined up at music festivals in Austria in July, 2014.

The tour is expected to be one of its own kind with talented artistes in different genres performing.
Award -winning musician Masike is one of Zimbabwe’s most sensational mbira-players to emerge in unearthing new musical possibilities in mbira in this era.

Her music is a blend of different music styles, with a fascinating repertoire ranging from ancient traditional mbira classics to jazz- driven instrumentals.
Singer Isabelle is noted for her distinctive voice and incredibly dense and impulsive stage performance.

Drummer Blessing ‘Bled’ Chimanga is highly active on the local scene with productions like ‘‘Here Come the Drums’’ and supporting numerous artists in collaborating with Italian musicians with three tours to Europe in the last few years. Chimanga will also be part of the collaborative group.

Parallel and interwoven with this musical journey and exchange runs the ‘Tales of Resilience’ exhibition.
It is another collaboration project between Austrian and Zimbabwean artists in researching and celebrating the cultural resilience of Tonga and Mbira music.

This project will present its outcome in an arts installation in the context of HIFA at the National Gallery in Harare, alongside a photography exhibition created by Simonga women (Binga) under the guidance of renowned photographers, Calvin Dondo and Annie Mpalume.

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