HARARE – Music superstar Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi will make a maiden appearance at the prestigious Festival Sur le Niger held annually in early February in the Malian city of Segou.
The highly-rated festival brings on the same stage rising contemporary and traditional artistes from Mali as well as international music stars.
At the multi-disciplinary event, which this year is running from February 1 to 4, Tuku will share the stage with African music stars who include Salif Keita (Mali), Sauti Sol (Kenya), Marema (Senegal), Habib Koite (Mali), Kareyce Fotso (Cameroon), Koudy (Benin) and Kamaldine (Guinea).
Tuku’s manager, Walter Wanyanya, confirmed the Zimbabwean music legend’s participation in the annual festival which was first held in 2005 to showcase music, dance, theatre, art exhibitions and diverse discussion forums among other things.
“Yes he will be leaving for Mali in early February to take part in the Festival Sur le Niger. It is a great opportunity to perform at a top festival,” said Wanyanya.
The Dzoka Uyamwe hit-maker’s debut appearance in Mali will present him with a perfect opportunity to promote his latest and 66th album Hany’ga — Concern.
Tuku released the title track of Hany’ga — Concern on iTunes on December 29 last year and will make available the rest of the 10-track album on the same digital music platform early next month.
In addition to Hany’ga — Concern, Tuku’s latest album also includes Matope, Bopoto, Shiringinya, Haasati Aziva, Dehenya, Inombotanga Sei?, Mahara, Uchatinhei?, Inyasha and Wanza Sori.
Tuku’s participation in the Festival Sur le Niger fittingly comes on the back of the African Legend Award he won at the All Africa Music Awards (Afrima) held at the Eko Convention Centre in Lagos, Nigeria in late November last year.
For landing the gong, Tuku, who shared the continental award with Malian superstar Salif Keita, was presented with the coveted 23.9 karat gold-plated Afrima trophy.
Interestingly, the legendary Salif Keita will also be on the programme of Festival Sur le Niger.
Over the past few months, the Neria hit-maker has performed in several African countries. On November 4 last year, he headlined the Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival held at Rockville’s Elkah Stadium in Soweto, Johannesburg.
At that event, which was marking its fourth anniversary, Tuku performed alongside top South African artistes who included Riky Rick, Papa Penny, Traditional Basotho Group, Bongeziwe Mabandla, Bye Beneco, Johnny Cradle, Zoe Modiga and Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness (BCUC).
A fortnight later he returned to South Africa to perform at Artscape Opera House in Cape Town on November 18 as part of gigs that had been lined up to mark his 65th birthday.
Tuku’s main birthday bash was held in September last year at the music star’s Pakare Paye Arts Centre in Norton where he shared the stage with Jah Prayzah, Amayenge from Zambia and various Pakare Paye products.
Recently Zimbabwe’s most internationally-acclaimed music star also performed in Namibia and Mozambique.