HARARE – Shoko Festival’s Shutdown Show on Saturday night at Water Whirld was a fitting finale to one of Zimbabwe’s fast-growing arts events.
With a bumper line-up featuring South Africa’s Khuli Chana and a German dancehall duo called Symbiz Sound on a stage named in honour of the late mbira star Chiwoniso Maraire, it was no surprise that a huge crowd turned up anticipating an explosive show.
As expected the international acts particularly Chana did not disappoint but it was the performance of the local artistes which illuminated the night.
Master lyricist Junior Brown with his buddy Tehn Diamond, the hilarious Dadza D, Synik, folk queen Netsayi Chigwendere and Hope Masike along with the Monkey Nuts, did Zimbabwe proud.
The exciting Shoko Arts Festival finale was kick-started by the spirited Netsayi who returned to Zimbabwe a couple of years ago after over a decade in the United Kingdom.
The gifted folk-singer, who is still fairly unknown in her homeland, set the stage for an exciting end to the third edition of Shoko Festival with the help of her exceptionally talented Black Pressure backing band.
Then came The Monkey Nuts who had mbira queen Masike in their line-up.
The exciting group justified why they are constantly receiving invitations to represent Zimbabwe at international hip-hop events with a well-choreographed presentation.
With pint-sized hip-hop and spoken word artist Synik, who did a duet with South African Ewok, also excelling, it was a night worth remembering.
Brown and Chana have taken hip-hop in their vernacular languages in South Africa and Zimbabwe respectively to new heights.
On Saturday night they got the perfect platform to prove why they are among Africa’s most popular hip-hop musicians.
They literally took the concert to a crescendo but the mood was somewhat dampened by technical glitches that blighted the last act of Symbiz Sound.
Though the German brothers Buddysym and Chrislmbiss were left frustrated when their home-made controllers developed faults in the midst of their show, their collaborations with local artistes left a very positive impression.
The Berlin-based duo, who are on their maiden tour of Africa, created three songs with the help of Pauline Gundidza of Mafriq, Dadza and hip-hop artiste Nigel Munenzva who is better known by the stage name NTM.
“It has been a pleasure working with Dadza Pauline and NTM. Pauline impressed me with her vocal and mbira skills,” said Chrislmbiss just before the Saturday night concert.
“We hope to include the collaborations in our next album. We always collaborate with foreign artistes wherever we go.”