HARARE – Local musicians gave a good advertisement of the country during the rebranded October World Music Festival that was signed off on Saturday night at the Book café by afro-fusion star Victor Kunonga.
It was thoroughly satisfying for Kunonga to be chosen as the final act of the week-long festival that featured classy international l acts like Piero Delle Monache Quartet and Enzo Favata Quartet from Italy along with The Brother Moves On from South Africa.
The Maidarirei hit-maker justified the event organisers’ faith in him by delivering that sent excited revellers dancing into the wee hours of Sunday morning. It was a well-choreographed performance that went a long way in demonstrating why Kunonga’s star continues to soar.
Before Kunonga’s spectacular finale, the fast-rising Zimbabwe afro-soul queen Netsayi Chigwendere and the Black Presure Band wowed the excited Book Café crowd with a performance that was full of energy and class. The talented Netsayi, who returned to settle in Zimbabwe after more than a decade in the United Kingdom, made some scintillating collaborations with rising South African jazz vocalist and trombonist Siya Makuzeni.
Though the Saturday October World Music Festival finale attracted a huge crowd, it was still a far cry from the hundreds that packed Book Café on Friday to watch Mokoomba deliver another master class. No artiste or group has attracted a bigger crowd than the one thronged the intimate venue to be serenaded by the internationally acclaimed band from Victoria Falls.
Such a big crowd was a sign of how the fortunes of the Tonga rhythms experts have changed dramatically for the better. Not so long ago Mokoomba were reported in this paper bemoaning the fact that they were more popular in Europe than in their homeland.
Led by the magical vocals of lead singer Mathias Muzaza, the band from Victoria Falls has clearly sung its way into the hearts of previously sceptical Zimbabweans.
The just-ended October World Music Festival also proved a happy hunting ground for sungura kingpin Alick Macheso whose debut concert at the Book Café and in the international festival, left scores who attended his act spell-bound by his famed bass guitar skills and energetic stage presence.
Macheso’s impromptu joint performance with Ammara Brown of a rendition of Andy Brown’s Mawere Kongonya, left a lasting impression on the October World Music Festival crowd.
The October World Music Festival has grown over the past seven years to become one of the largest cultural events Zimbabwe. It has received recognition as a major contributor to the development of the arts and music industry. The music showcase is a prime culture exchange facilitator spearheaded by the Italian Embassy in Harare that brings together international, regional Local artists to perform and interact artistically at different venues around Harare.
Meikles Hotel, FBC Bank, Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust, Freight World, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), Pamberi Trust, Ethiopian Airlines, Progressive Insurance Brokers, Sontine Travel, Societa’ Dante Alighieri and the Italian Club are some of the organizations whose sponsorship made this year’s edition of the festival possible.